President Trump’s desperate efforts to convince the voting public that our nation’s inefficient and inexcusably mismanaged COVID-19 testing program is actually superior to those of the rest of the world continued early on Wednesday morning with a stunning misrepresentation of the truth mixed with preposterous bravado.
Trump appeared to backhandedly brag that the United States reaching one million COVID-19 cases was evidence of a robust and effective testing program and claimed that “other countries” were “way behind,” and show fewer cases because of it.
The only reason the U.S. has reported one million cases of CoronaVirus is that our Testing is sooo much better than any other country in the World. Other countries are way behind us in Testing, and therefore show far fewer cases!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 29, 2020
It is absolutely stunning to see Trump try to spin the incompetence and neglect that allowed the virus to spread so far in the first place into something else he can undeservedly take credit for.
The fact of the matter is that the Trump administration deliberately refused to be more aggressive with testing when the virus first hit because Trump didn’t want to have to deal with the political consequences of a pandemic.
He then decided to refuse to accept the test kits that the World Health Organization was shipping to countries around the world at the end of February, instead choosing to go ahead with an American-made test that inevitably was delayed by manufacturing issues, lab contamination, and logistical problems.
Throughout the entire process, the Trump administration has refused to take the initiative or and responsibility for a widespread testing program, attempting to pawn the job off on the states and sidestep the issue entirely by pushing for early re-opening of the economy.
To that end, the Trump team has been aggressively misrepresenting the importance of individual test numbers in hopes that simply shouting increasingly impressive numbers will be enough to sweep the evidence of his mismanagement under the rug. But simply comparing the number of tests done is useless, because other countries have different population sizes than the United States.
The per capita testing rate is the real qualifier of how widespread the disease is — and in that regard, Trump’s America still earns a failing grade.
US has conducted 16.4 tests per every 1,000 people, below the world average and about the same as *Belarus*
Iceland: 136 per 1,000
Belarus: 17 https://t.co/Cuj4j5czc5
— Carol Leonnig (@CarolLeonnig) April 29, 2020
It is breathtaking to see the lengths that Donald Trump will go to turn the inexcusable failures that have led to the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans into something he can package as a brag on Twitter to his gullible fans.
America First indeed — first in the world with COVID-19 cases.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.