Trump keeps making coronavirus testing out to be a 'PR problem'

Kathryn Krawczyk

President Trump wants the U.S. to keep increasing its coronavirus testing capacity — but also keeps insisting that more testing is making the country "look bad."

While Trump has never doubted that COVID-19 tests are an important piece of re-establishing normalcy, he has also been wary of anything that would make the U.S.'s case count go up. He resisted letting cruise passengers back onto American soil after they'd likely contracted the disease months ago to keep the country's case total low and, as recently as Thursday, again suggested that testing is "overrated."

"We have the best testing in the world. Could be that testing is, frankly, overrated," Trump said Thursday at a medical supply facility in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Still, Trump acknowledged that he was in favor of increasing testing capacity no matter how "overrated it is," but that even when more testing happened, "they say 'we want more'" again. After all, Trump said, "if we didn't do any testing we would have very few cases" — or at least officially reported cases.

To New York Times opinion columnist Jamelle Bouie, this was just another example of Trump thinking "everything is a PR problem."

Earlier this week, Trump said that "in a way, by doing all this testing we make ourselves look bad," because it increases the number of verified COVID-19 cases in the U.S. But Trump has never said he wants to tone down the number of tests to improve his or the country's image.

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