WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Senator Lindsey Graham, a prominent ally of President Donald Trump, said on The View Thursday that the country is struggling to implement mass testing which should be done first before deciding on reopening the US economy.
- Graham’s comments were in contrast with Trump’s remarks commending the federal government’s testing system.
- The halted testing in commercial labs in the country was likely the effect of a narrow testing protocol prioritizing hospital patients, healthcare workers and those who are vulnerable to the virus, as first reported by Politico.
Senator Lindsey Graham, US President Donald Trump’s loyal ally, acknowledged the country is still struggling to conduct mass testing in light of the move to reopen the American economy.
Graham said on The View on Thursday, “On what we need to do better, I think the key to me is testing. I can’t really blame the president, but we are struggling with testing on a large scale… You can’t really go back to work until we have more tests that shows who has it and who doesn’t, and we’re beginning to turn the corner on that.”
The senator’s remarks are not aligned with Trump’s compliment on the country’s testing system which he described as “the best of any country in the world.”
Trump would occasionally admit shortcomings, but more often, he would take the responsibility off his administration — like what he said on Wednesday that he agreed with business leaders’ clamor to do widespread testing so they can resume operation, yet quickly stressed that it’s up to states to address it.
The past week’s drop in the number of coronavirus tests being analyzed by US commercial labs strengthened criticisms on the administration’s way of handling the pandemic. The testing shortage has paralyzed America’s efforts to mitigate the virus and identify COVID-19 hotspots.
The failure of commercial labs in testing, as first reported by POLITICO earlier this week, was likely the effect of narrow testing measures that prioritize hospital patients, healthcare workers and those who are vulnerable to the virus. Other potential cases were also deprioritized due to the scarcity of testing swabs used.
With sentiments similar with those of the governors and business sectors, Graham said that the federal government needs to step up in providing test kits that should be widely available. Until mass testing shortage is solved, health officials claimed that lifting the stringent social-distancing measures is not safe.
Graham’s comments were a rare instance of questioning Trump as the GOP senators are usually in support of the president. They have even been strongly reluctant to join Democrats in scrutinizing the president’s management of the crisis.
“I think everything we’ve done to this point has saved probably well over a million Americans from death from the virus, and I want to reopen the economy, but the key to that is testing,” Graham said.