West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin warns against praising low coronavirus rate: 'We didn't test'

Kathryn Krawczyk

President Trump spent Tuesday portraying West Virginia as a coronavirus success story. Its senator says that's dangerously untrue.

Before Tuesday, West Virginia was the last state in the nation that hadn't reported any cases of COVID-19, leading Trump to praise Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice for "doing a good job." But as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) — a conservative Democrat who often votes with Trump — said in a Wednesday interview with CNN, he "hoped the president wouldn't go down that road and make it look like we were doing something special."

The only "special" thing is that "they didn't test," Manchin continued. "We have no testing, we're not prepared, people think that we're immune from this," Manchin added, warning against portraying West Virginia as "some kind of beacon of hope."

Manchin warned how susceptible his state is to COVID-19 on the Senate floor on Monday, noting a Kaiser Family Foundation report that showed West Virginia has a huge portion of at-risk adults when it comes to possible coronavirus infection. A full half of West Virginia's adults have been deemed at risk of contracting COVID-19 — a higher proportion than any other state.

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