On March 6, Donald Trump visited the CDC and told Americans, “Anybody who needs a [coronavirus] test, will get a test.”
This promise that every American would have easy access to testing has never been fulfilled. There’s a reason why the statement was declared a ‘Pants on Fire’ by Politifact.
Now, just a few short weeks later, the Trump administration has all but given up on the idea entirely.
Thursday afternoon, FEMA said the administration will pull back on federal support of testing sites nationwide.
After backlash, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) revised their plan, saying instead that they would check with local authorities to determine who needed federal support.
During Friday’s Coronavirus Task Force Briefing, CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta asked the president, “How could the administration discuss the possibility of reopening the country when the administration does not have an adequate nationwide testing system for this virus?”
Trump responded, saying the the U.S. was already doing “tremendous” testing, but did not need nationwide testing.
When asked about how he would know if the virus was in retreat if there were no testing, Trump said, “We’ll know, because people won’t go to the hospital.”
President Barack Obama was strongly criticized by the right for saying if Americans liked their doctors, they could keep their doctors under the Affordable Care Act. When the complex realities of the insurance industry came to fruition, many people were forced to switch health care plans, and the then hollow promise sparked a backlash amongst his critics.
Trump’s empty promise that “anybody who needs a test, will get a test” will define his tumultuous presidency to a far greater extent.
It perfectly encapsulates his instinct to speak without regards to the facts. It highlights the cruelty of his ‘leadership.’ And while some were inconvenienced by being forced to switch health care providers under Obama, Trump’s statement is far more consequential.
President Trump dangled hope to millions of Americans, and then pulled it away.
As the number of coronavirus cases and deaths rises daily, experts agree that only through widespread testing can we mitigate the crisis and set society on a path towards normalcy.
No matter how bad the crisis gets, one can’t help but feel that the federal government is guilty of a dereliction of duty.
“Anybody who needs a test, will get a test,” will be the big lie that will haunt Trump forever, and will hopefully put an end to this cruel and unusual presidency in November.