Mitt Romney: Trump's failed virus testing is 'nothing to celebrate'

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The Utah Republican scolded Trump's testing czar during a Senate hearing.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) scolded the Trump administration on Tuesday for its celebration of the nation's coronavirus testing numbers a day earlier.

The comments came at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions titled "COVID-19: Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School."

Romney complained that Adm. Brett Giroir, Trump's coronavirus testing czar and an assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, participated in a White House celebration on Monday of what Trump called the "unprecedented testing capacity developed by the United States — the most advanced and robust testing system anywhere in the world, by far."

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In recent days, Republican lawmakers and Trump have been claiming that the United States has now tested more people for the coronavirus than other countries have. But until Romney said it, they had not put those numbers in context, nor acknowledged that experts say the lack of testing is the reason for the COVID-19 crisis in the country.

From the hearing:

Sen. Mitt Romney: I understand that politicians are gonna frame data in a way that's most positive politically. Of course I don't expect that from admirals.

 

But yesterday, you celebrated that we had done more tests — and more tests per capita even — than South Korea. But you ignored the fact that they accomplished theirs at the beginning of the outbreak, while we treaded water during February and March and, as a result, by March 6, the U.S. had completed just 2,000 tests, whereas South Korea had conducted more than 140,000 tests.

 

So partially as a result of that, they have 256 deaths and we have almost 80,000 deaths. I find our testing record nothing to celebrate whatsoever.

 

The fact is, their test numbers are going down, down, down, down now because they don't have the kind of outbreak we have. Ours are going up, up, up as they have to. I think that's an important lesson for us, as we think about the future.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.