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Governors Say Donald Trump Is “Delusional” in His Claims About Coronavirus Testing

Donald Trump holds up swabs as he speaks at the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House

Donald Trump is continuing his approach to the coronavirus by taking credit for whatever he can while blaming individual governors for any and all failings. And right now, testing is the big issue at the center of Trump’s blame game.

On Sunday, Trump said during his now-daily press briefing that he would have a call with governors to discuss ramping up testing capabilities in their states. On Saturday, he claimed those governors “don’t want to use all of the capacity that we’ve created.”

“We have tremendous capacity,” he said during his press briefing. “They know that. The governors know that. The Democrat governors know that. They’re the ones that are complaining.”

Trump’s administration has introduced a three-phase plan for “re-opening” parts of the country. It’s a vague plan with no set dates or even any real directives, but testing is a crucial element. And according to Trump and his taskforce, it’s the states’ fault that we’re not farther along in that area. Mike Pence told Fox News’ Chris Wallace Sunday that “the testing that we have today … is sufficient for any state in America to move into Phase 1.”

The Governors disagree.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker told NPR that “the federal government has really been more of a hindrance than a help in most of the testing issues.”

Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam (from whom Trump encouraged people to “liberate” their state last week) called Trump’s claims that states have the resources they need “delusional.”

Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan–a Republican, by the way–told CNN that the lack of testing is “the No. 1 problem in America and has been from the beginning of this crisis.” He said that for the administration “to say that the governors have plenty of testing, and they should just get to work on testing, somehow we aren’t doing our jobs is just absolutely false.”

Ohio’s Republican Governor Mike DeWine told CNN that what’s really holding things up, at least in his state, is “a supply chain production problem.” They’re lacking enough chemical reagent to expand testing, as well as nasal swabs and tubes.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has been singled out by Trump lately, echoed DeWine’s statements. She said Michigan could “double or triple the number of tests we are doing, but we need some of the supplies.”

“It would be nice if we had a national strategy that was working with every state, so every state knew what was coming,” she told NBC.

Another governor who requested anonymity (so, presumably a Republican who doesn’t want to draw Trump’s ire) told CNN, “Just wanted you to know how frustrating the doublespeak is that’s coming from the White House.”

“When the White House says there’s plenty of ‘testing capacity’ in the states they are referring to the number of tests that could be run on machines that exist in hospitals, commercial labs and doctor’s offices,” the governor said. “So, why aren’t states using all the capacity? There’s a worldwide shortage of swabs, VTM and reagent. Can’t do tests without all of those. And they don’t come in a package – you have to buy each of those from multiple suppliers.”

But Trump isn’t backing down. (And by “backing down,” of course I mean “doing his best to make sure people don’t die.”)

Just this afternoon, he tweeted that the states are “playing a very dangerous political game” in requesting assistance from the federal government.

Trump is claiming governors–and specifically Democrats–are pretending to have a shortage of testing supplies just to make him look bad, which is ridiculous. No doubt he’s going to finally do his job and oversee the allocation of federal supplies so that he can act benevolent and demand praise, just like he’s been doing with those damn ventilators. It’s a horrible, manipulative political game and hopefully he just hurries it up so people can actually get tested.

(via NPR, CNN, image: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.