Coronavirus presents unprecedented challenges to public policy and the electoral process.
In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well underway.
President Trump, at his Oklahoma rally, says he asked to "slow the testing down" because an increase in testing leads to an increase in coronavirus cases https://t.co/wwD49yR24K pic.twitter.com/h3r7nQzsqA— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) June 21, 2020
Interview in Wall Street Journal:This "joking" excuse was predictable, but Trump's comment was precisely in line with his oft-repeated, indisputably serious thoughts about testing being somewhat bad because it makes the US look bad. https://t.co/HJSpPO5Nmb— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) June 21, 2020
Mr. Bender: The Wuhan question I wanted to ask about the spike there, which resulted in them testing almost all 11 million people in 9 days. If there was a second spike in New York or Michigan, would you push to test everyone in New York, everyone in Michigan?
Mr. Trump: No, I wouldn’t. I personally think testing is overrated, even though I created the greatest testing machine in history. I’ve created the greatest testing machine in history. And I think testing is overrated.
Mr. Bender: Why is that?
Mr. Trump: Because I think you’ll have it and you’ll test. I’m not saying testing is bad. And certainly you test people and you want to see whether or not they have it. But the testing can lead to a lot of mistakes also. Look, if we didn’t test all the cases that we’re reporting, you wouldn’t know about any of those cases. In many ways, it makes us look bad. The fact that we’re so good at something makes us look bad. But having the ability to test is…has helped us a lot. But don’t forget we report every single death.…We report every case. So, if we test 20 times more than some other country, we’re going to find cases. They call them cases. And that’s only because our testing is much better.
Mr. Bender: You think testing is overrated because it adds to the caseload?
Mr. Trump: No, not for that reason. I just think that what you have to do is be careful, regardless. You have to be careful. You have a certain population... we now know that elderly people, especially elderly people that have a problem such as heart disease, or various…they’re literally listed, okay? They’re literally listed. Diabetes, heart disease, I think would be number one and two. But they’re listed. If they’re elderly, and they have those diseases, it’s not easy. It’s not gonna be pleasant. OK? So we know where we should protect. We had a number of governors that did a very, very poor job with respect to nursing homes, a very, very poor job. And they should have known better.
Mr. Bender: You also don’t seem to like masks very much. Do you think people are protesting you when they wear them?
Mr. Trump: Masks are a double-edge sword. People touch them. And they grab them and I see it all the time. They come in, they take the mask. Now they’re holding it now in their fingers. And they drop it on the desk and then they touch their eye and they touch their nose. No, I think a mask is a…it’s a double-edged sword. It’s a double-edged sword. I see Biden. It’s like his whole face is covered. It’s like he put a knapsack over his face. He probably likes it that way. He feels good that way because he does. He seems to feel good in a mask, you know, feels better than he does without the mask, which is a strange situation.
Mr. Bender: You’ve commented on Biden’s mask a few times, and a couple of reporters who wear masks. Do you view that as a protest of you? Do you feel like people wear masks to show their disapproval of you?
Mr. Trump: It could be, yeah. It could be. But it could also be they feel better about it. I mean, I’m okay with it. Look, I’m okay with it. But the mask is a double-edged sword and I see it. People come in, they’re talking through the mask for hours. They probably don’t clean them after, you know, they get a little cocky, right? Then they take the mask, they put their finger on the mask, and they take them off, and then they start touching their eyes and touching their nose and their mouth. And then they don’t know how they caught it.