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President Trump arrives at a campaign rally at the BOK Center, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump told the crowd at a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday that he asked officials to "slow the testing down" for the novel coronavirus.

Details: This is the first time Trump has made such remarks, and the campaign for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden issued a statement calling Trump's comments "outrageous" and "appalling." White House officials told reporters that Trump was joking, Axios' Hans Nichols notes.

"COVID. To be specific, COVID-19. That name gets further and further away from China, as opposed to calling it the Chinese virus. We — I — did a phenomenal job with it."
— Remarks by Trump at his Tulsa rally

What he's saying: At the rally, Trump reiterated his claims that ramped up testing was to blame for the U.S. having the world's highest number of COVID-19 cases, and he again blamed China for the pandemic — which he continued to refer to using terms the World Health Organization has said could stigmatize individuals with Chinese ancestry.

  • He also referred to COVID-19 as "kung flu," a term White House counselor Kellyanne Conway has previously called "highly offensive."
  • Trump said the virus was a "double-edged sword" because it counts cases like a "young man, 10 years old" who "got the sniffles, he's gonna recover in about 15 minutes."

Of note: NIAID director Anthony Fauci told the Wall Street Journal this week that increased testing does lead to more cases reported, but he said higher percentages of positive tests results in many states "cannot be explained by increased testing."

The big picture: More than 119,600 Americans have died of COVID-19, Johns Hopkins data shows. Over 2.2. million people have tested positive for the virus from more than 26.5 million tests in the United States.

Go deeper: In photos: Trump holds first campaign rally since start of coronavirus pandemic

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the Biden campaign's comments.

Go deeper

Updated Jun 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: How prior coronavirus infections factor into herd immunity — Study: Nearly a quarter of COVID-19 patients developed new or long-term conditions — U.S. COVID-19 death toll surpasses 600,000.
  2. Vaccines: Vermont becomes first state to reach 80% vaccine threshold — U.S. buys 200 million additional doses of Moderna’s COVID vaccine.
  3. Politics: Republicans push to sanction Chinese officials over Wuhan lab probe — Congress members hold moment of silence for Americans who died of COVID.
  4. States: California lifts most COVID restrictions — New York lifts most COVID restrictions as state hits 70% vaccination threshold — Graphic: Which states have vaccinated at least 70% of adults — In photos: Life slowly returning to normal as restrictions lift across U.S.
  5. World: The G7's billion-dose pledge, heralded by Biden, doesn't add up — Boris Johnson extends England's COVID restrictions to curb variant spread.
  6. Sports: How all 24 Euro 2020 countries have fared with COVID-19 and vaccines.
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Back to normal without herd immunity.
  8. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Sep 29, 2020 - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: Americans won't take Trump's word on vaccine

Data: Axios/Ipsos survey; Note: Margin of error for the total sample is ±3.2%; Chart: Axios Visuals

Barely two in 10 Americans would take a first-generation coronavirus vaccine if President Trump told them it was safe — one of several new measures of his sinking credibility in the latest wave of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Details: Given eight scenarios and asked how likely they were to try the vaccine in each case, respondents said they'd be most inclined if their doctor vouched for its safety (62%), followed by insurance covering the full cost (56%) or the FDA saying it's safe (54%).

Dave Lawler, author of World
Sep 29, 2020 - World

Global coronavirus death toll crosses 1 million

Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The global toll of confirmed deaths from COVID-19 crossed 1 million on Monday, according to data from Johns Hopkins.

By the numbers: More than half of those deaths have come in four countries: the U.S. (204,762), Brazil (141,741), India (95,542) and Mexico (76,430). The true global death toll is likely far higher.