May 12, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Romney rips Trump's testing czar for framing U.S. testing as a success

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) criticized the Trump administration's coronavirus testing coordinator Adm. Brett Giroir at a Senate hearing Tuesday, accusing him of framing U.S. testing data in a politically positive light: "I find our testing record nothing to celebrate whatsoever."

The big picture: At a press briefing Monday, President Trump and Giroir touted the fact that the U.S. has now conducted more tests per capita than South Korea. But Romney argued those claims are misleading because South Korea conducted tests much earlier on and no longer needs to test as many people as their case numbers fall.

What he's saying:

"You ignored the fact that they accomplished theirs at the beginning of the outbreak while we treaded water during February and March. 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."

Romney also applauded the country's swift efforts to develop a vaccine, but he rebuked President Trump's dubious claim that former President Obama is somehow responsible for the country's lack of a vaccine.

  • He asked Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, if either Trump or Obama is responsible for the lack of a vaccine.
  • "No, no, senator, not at all," Fauci responded. "Certainly not Obama, nor President Trump, is responsible for us not having a vaccine."

Go deeper: Trump contradicts health officials on who can get a coronavirus test

Go deeper