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President Trump rails against governors' criticism over testing

President Trump holds Monday coronavirus news conference as he rails against governors' criticism
Posted at 4:48 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 23:50:17-04

As President Donald Trump continues to feel the heat from many governors, especially Democratic governors, the president once again was on the defensive on Monday over an apparent lack of coronavirus tests in many states.

Trump repeated claims on Monday that the responsibility to secure tests was up to state governors, and not the federal government.

But several Republican governors, including Maryland's Larry Hogan and Ohio's Mike DeWine, have suggested that the federal government could be more helpful in obtaining tests.

"I think this is probably the number one problem in America and has been from the beginning of this crisis, the lack of testing," Hogan said on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday. "And I've repeatedly made this argument to the leaders in Washington on behalf of the rest of the governors in America. I can tell you, I've talked to governors on both sides of the aisle nearly every single day.

"The administration I think is trying to ramp up testing. They are doing some things with respect to private labs. But to try to push this off to say that the governors have plenty of testing and they should just get to work on testing, somehow we aren't doing our job, is just absolutely false."

Trump at a news conference on Monday said Hogan did not know what was going on in his state after a phone call with governors.

"Gov. Hogan didn't really know. It was very obvious to any of those listening on the call today," Trump said. "He really didn't know about the federal laboratories. He didn't know... We have done a really good job in testing. With that being said, we have tests coming out in the next two weeks that will blow the whole industry away."

DeWine, who said his relationship with Trump is ‘good,’ told NBC's Chuck Todd that Ohio could double or triple testing if given the FDA’s green light to make slight alterations to COVID-19 test kits, claiming there is a shortage in the materials needed to make the tests.

"We really need help. [If] anybody in the FDA is watching, this would really take our capacity up literally overnight,” DeWine said.

But on Monday, Trump dismissed criticism in a series of tweets.

“Last month all you heard from the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats was, ‘Ventilators, Ventilators, Ventilators,’” Trump tweeted. "They screamed it loud & clear, & thought they had us cold, even though it was the State’s task. But everyone got their V’s, with many to spare. Now they scream ‘Testing, Testing, Testing,’ again playing a very dangerous political game.

“States, not the Federal Government, should be doing the Testing - But we will work with the Governors and get it done. This is easy compared to the fast production of thousands of complex Ventilators!"

White House infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said late last week that the United States’ testing supply is will be adequate to begin the first phase of a three-phase reopening plan aimed at allowing some non-essential functions to resume, but getting those tests to those who need it is an issue.

“There are two issues: There’s supply and demand,” Dr. Fauci said. “And if you have a supply that can meet the demand, but the supply is not connected to the demand, then supply/demand falls apart.”

Fauci added, “If these things are done correctly, which I believe they can — we will have and there will be enough tests to allow us to take this country safely through phase one."

Justin Boggs is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @jjboggs or on Facebook .