“You say ‘broken tests,’ ” a reported asked Trump. “It’s a new virus, so how could the tests be broken?”

By Ally Mauch
May 01, 2020 04:42 PM
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Donald Trump
President Donald Trump
| Credit: Olivier DOULIERY/Getty Images

President Donald Trump told reporters on Thursday that his predecessor Barack Obama left faulty tests for the novel coronavirus. One of those reporters quickly pushed back, given that the infectious illness didn't emerge until years after Obama was out of office.

“The last administration left us nothing,” Trump claimed. “We started off with bad, broken tests and obsolete tests.”

Obama's term ended in January 2017, long before the coronavirus pandemic began spreading across the world in early 2020. CNN reporter Jim Acosta, who has tangled with Trump before and been criticized by him, quickly pointed this out.

“You say ‘broken tests,’ ” Acosta told the president. “It’s a new virus, so how could the tests be broken?”

“We had broken tests,” Trump replied. “We had tests that were obsolete. We had tests that didn’t take care of people.”

Trump continued to criticize Obama, calling the former president's response to 2009’s H1N1 flu outbreak “a disaster.” He went on to say that his own administration has done a “spectacular” job of tackling the coronavirus.

While the Trump administration's response to the pandemic has been heavily scrutinized, the president's repeatedly compared himself to Obama and the H1N1 flu to argue that Obama did a worse job with a previous outbreak.

The coronavirus death toll is significantly higher than the deaths from H1N1, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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The president has also blamed Obama’s administration for testing issues since the coronavirus pandemic first began to take hold in the U.S, tweeting in early March: “For decades the @CDCgov looked at, and studied, its testing system, but did nothing about it.”

"It would always be inadequate and slow for a large scale pandemic, but a pandemic would never happen, they hoped," he contended then. "President Obama made changes that only complicated things further."

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Trump's administration took heavy criticism in March and April for the manufacturing and bureaucratic problems rolling out coronavirus testing nationwide, which experts say undercut the ability to track and contain the virus as it spread.

As of Friday, the novel coronavirus had infected more than one million people and killed more than 63,000 in the U.S., according to available data.

Dr. Emily Gurley, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told PEOPLE in early April that the U.S. was behind on testing and “it’s unclear when we’re going to catch up.”

She added that while newly developed rapid-results tests were promising, “It’s a race, and the virus is way ahead of us.”

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