Trump contradicts press secretary on how many times he’s tested for COVID

Critics question, 'If the president finds testing useful, why hasn't he organized a national effort?'

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump directly contradicted his press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, who had previously said that he is tested for COVID-19 “multiple times a day.”

“I don’t know about more than one,” Trump said when responding to a reporter who asked why the president was tested so frequently. “I do probably on average a test every two days, three days, and I don’t know of any time I’ve taken two in one day, but I could see that happening.” 

READ MORE: Trump claims most COVID-19 cases are mostly people who ‘have the sniffles’

Later, McEnany doubled down on her previous remarks maintaining, “sometimes it is more than one time a day.” 

The press secretary had told reporters earlier on Tuesday that President Trump is “the most tested man in America.” During a morning press briefing, she said, “He’s tested more than anyone, multiple times a day. And we believe that he’s acting appropriately.” 

Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump holds up swabs as he speaks at the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House on April 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

The contradictory remarks highlight the disconnect in the White House about the coronavirus and messaging about testing. Tuesday marked the first time that the president conducted a briefing on the virus since April. 

“We are asking everybody when you are not able to socially distance, wear a mask,” Trump said, definitively endorsing the wearing of masks in the U.S. “Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact.”

He also warned Americans that the pandemic will “probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better.” 

The Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump political action committee formed by several prominent Republicans and former Republicans, responded to the president via social media.

They wondered out loud, “If the president finds testing to be a useful way of mitigating risk, why hasn’t he organized a national effort?”

Notably absent from the briefing was Dr. Anthony Fauci who for months during the beginning of the pandemic had been an ever-present figure who gained public trust. 

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The White House commonly uses the Abbott Laboratories rapid test. The test is less invasive than the traditional coronavirus test which requires a swab deep in the nostrils. The test, however, has drawn scrutiny for high rates of false negatives. 

In May, one of the president’s valets, who handles his food and drinks, tested positive for the virus which led to an increase in testing inside the White House.

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