As Americans still struggle to access coronavirus testing and receive prompt results, President Donald Trump is being screened for the disease as many as “multiple times a day,” his top spokesperson acknowledged Tuesday.
“As I’ve made clear from this podium, the president is the most tested man in America,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters. “He’s tested more than anyone, multiple times a day, and we believe that he’s acting appropriately.”
Pressed on her remarks, which were in response to a question regarding the president’s reluctance to wear a face mask in public, McEnany declined to elaborate on the specific number of times Trump is tested in a 24-hour period.
“He’s tested often. I’m not going to read out exactly how many times he’s tested a day, but sometimes it is more than one time a day,” she said.
The details from the press secretary about the president’s testing regimen come as the Trump administration continues to struggle to ramp up its testing capabilities amid a resurgence of Covid-19 infections in the United States.
Conservative media personalities, Republican lawmakers and even a high-ranking former White House official have all complained in recent days about the country’s insufficient amount of testing and delays in test results.
Trump, however, has at times advocated for less testing, describing it as a “double-edged sword” and telling supporters at a campaign rally last month that he had instructed administration officials to “slow the testing down.”
But the president has also maintained the U.S. testing operation is “far superior” to that of any other nation and boasted that the federal government has “done things that few other countries could have done!”
Meanwhile, communities across the South and Southwest have reported record numbers of cases over the past month, and the administration is turning to pooled testing to ease demand for Covid-19 screenings. Public health experts and testing labs are skeptical that the strategy will work in the U.S.
Trump tested negative for the coronavirus in March and again in April. After one of Trump’s personal military valets became infected in May, the White House announced that Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and White House staffers who came into contact with the president would be tested every day.
Trump later that month praised Abbott Laboratories’ 15-minute rapid test used to screen White House staff and visitors, saying it was a “very good test. Very portable. Very quick.”
The true number of U.S. coronavirus cases so far could be six to 24 times larger than official figures show, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.