Donald Trump faced backlash on Tuesday after saying he viewed the United States’ high coronavirus case count as a “badge of honor” because it means a lot of testing.
Critics ― including Republicans ― accused the president of attempting to spin the figures and of being “dishonest” with his phrasing.
“When we have a lot of cases, I don’t look at that as a bad thing,” Trump said during a White House meeting with his Cabinet. “I look at that as in a certain respect as being a good thing because it means our testing is much better.”
“So, if we were testing a million people instead of 14 million people, we would have far fewer cases, right?” Trump continued. “So, I view it as a badge of honor. Really, it’s a badge of honor. It’s a great tribute to the testing and a lot of the work that the professionals have done.”
Check out Trump’s comments here:
Trump’s turn of phrase drew blistering responses on Twitter.
Critics accused the president of attempting to change the narrative on the high numbers of infections in the U.S., which they attributed to Trump’s dithering and downplaying the threat as the outbreak advanced.
Others acknowledged the U.S. has indeed conducted more tests (12.6 million) than any other country and had ramped up testing in recent weeks. But in per capita testing, the U.S. languishes in around 38th position.
The U.S. has upwards of 1.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. More than 93,000 people have died from the disease.
“Folks, I have no head left to shake,” tweeted Michael Steele, the former chair of the Republican National Committee, in response to Trump’s comments.
“Here’s how ignorant & dishonest Trump is,” added former GOP Rep. Joe Walsh, the onetime favorite of the far-right tea party movement who is now a fierce critic of the president. “If the US had the fewest confirmed cases in the world, Trump would say THE EXACT SAME THING,” he wrote.
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