Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

As a new COVID-19 test kit developed by Abbott Labs is placed on a table, President Donald Trump speaks during the daily coronavirus briefing at the Rose Garden of the White House on March 30, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Photo:  Win McNamee/Getty Images)

"I Haven't Heard About Testing in Weeks": In Leaked Audio, Trump Dismisses Governors' Concerns About Lack of Coronavirus Equipment

"It would be shocking to me that... anyone who has had access to any newspaper, radio, social networks, or any other communication would not be knowledgeable about the need for test kits."

Jake Johnson

In a conference call with governors on Monday, President Donald Trump dismissed concerns about shortages of coronavirus testing equipment in states across the nation, claiming he "hasn't heard about testing being a problem" despite loud warnings from local officials and near-constant reporting on the issue by media outlets.

"I haven't heard about testing in weeks," the president said, according to leaked audio of the call obtained by CBS News. "We've tested more now than any nation in the world. We've got these great tests and we come out with another one tomorrow that's, you know, almost instantaneous testing. But I haven't heard about testing being a problem."

Trump's remarks came after Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said on the call that his state doesn't "have enough supplies to even do the testing" for coronavirus, which has officially infected more than 163,000 people in the United States.

"Literally we are one day away, if we don't get test kits from the CDC, that we wouldn't be able to do testing in Montana," said Bullock.

Listen to the audio clip:

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee told the New York Times that he was stunned by the president's remarks.

"It would be shocking to me that... anyone who has had access to any newspaper, radio, social networks, or any other communication would not be knowledgeable about the need for test kits," Inslee said, noting his state is in "dire" need of equipment. "I can be assured that the White House knows very well about this desperate need for test kits."

Trump has repeatedly ignored or brushed aside warnings from frontline workers and local officials about shortages of of testing kits and other medical equipment as the coronavirus continues to spread rapidly across the United States.

During a press briefing Monday evening, Trump lashed out at PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor after she pressed the president on why, despite his frequent claims to the contrary, the United States continues to lag behind other major nations in coronavirus testing per capita.

"You should be saying congratulations instead of asking a really snarky question," Trump said.

Watch:


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Massive Demonstration of Support for Lopez Obrador in Mexico City

AMLO was elected in 2018 and heralded as the Bernie Sanders of Mexico

Common Dreams staff ·


Scientists Revive ‘Zombie’ Virus After 50,000 Years Trapped in Siberian Permafrost

Researchers documented 13 never-before-seen viruses that have been lying dormant, frozen in thick ice, over tens of thousands of years.

Common Dreams staff ·


'Cleaner Air Is Coming' as London Expands Vehicle Pollution Fee to Entire Metro Area

"Around 4,000 Londoners die prematurely each year because of long-term exposure to air pollution, with the greatest number of deaths in outer London boroughs," noted Mayor Sadiq Khan in announcing the expansion.

Brett Wilkins ·


'Amazing News': Historic Shark Protections Approved at Global Wildlife Convention

Up to 90% of sharks targeted by the lucrative fin trade will now be protected, said one advocate.

Julia Conley ·


'The Nightmare Materializes': Far-Right Extremist Itamar Ben-Gvir to Be Israel's National Security Minister

The Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Palestinian Authority said Ben-Gvir's elevation to national security minister could have a "catastrophic impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo