‘I don’t kid’: Trump says he wasn’t joking about telling officials to slow down COVID-19 testing

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In this June 20, 2020, photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

On Tuesday morning, Trump confirmed that he wasn’t joking when he said at his Tulsa rally that he’d directed his aides to slow down COVID-19 testing.
White House aides including Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany have claimed that Trump was speaking “in jest” and was “joking about the media.”
Trump, however, contradicted McEnany and said “I don’t kid” when asked to clarify his comments on Tuesday.

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President Donald Trump confirmed he wasn’t joking when he said that he directed his aides to slow down COVID-19 testing and called testing “a double-edged sword” at a Saturday night rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“Testing is a double-edged sword,” Trump said at the rally. “We’ve tested now 25 million people. It’s probably 20 million people more than anybody else…Here’s the bad part: when you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people, you’re going to find more cases. So I said to my people, slow the testing down, please.”

After his comments, White House officials, including Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, told reporters that Trump made comment “in jest” and was “joking about the media and their failure to understand the fact that when you test more you also find more cases.”

But Trump contradicted McEnany and doubled-downed on the comments while speaking to reporters Tuesday morning.

“I don’t kid,” Trump said in response to CBS News Correspondent Weijia Jiang asking him to clarify whether or not he had been joking when he said he asked for testing to be slowed down.

“Let me just tell you, let me make it clear, we have got the greatest testing program anywhere in the world,” Trump said. “We test better than anybody in the world, our tests are the best in the world. By having more tests, we find more cases. We did 25 million tests, think of that, 25 million…way more, by double, triple, quadruple, other countries. “

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“Therefore, we test, we’re going to have more cases,” Trump added. “By having more cases, it sounds bad. But what it actually is is we’re finding people, many of those people aren’t sick or very little, they might be young people. But what’s happened because of the cases that we find, we have a very low mortality rate, just about the best in the world.

“Here’s what I say: testing is a double-edged sword. It tells you you have cases, in another way you find out where the cases are and you do a good job. We are doing a great job, we have never been credited for it,” he continued.

NEW: Asked whether he was kidding when he claimed at his Tulsa rally he had instructed officials to slow down COVID-19 testing, Pres. Trump says, “I don’t kid.”

Yesterday, press sec. Kayleigh McEnany told @bgittleson the comments had been “in jest.” https://t.co/yXYp4j9zXj pic.twitter.com/jjd5XVLRye

— ABC News (@ABC) June 23, 2020

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