Trump’s Testing Czar Defends WH Response When Challenged by CNN’s Pamela Brown: ‘Everything That Can Possibly Be Done Has Been Done’


CNN’s Pamela Brown repeatedly confronted the Trump administration’s testing czar, Admiral Brett Giroir, about ongoing issues with the country’s testing strategy, from long turnaround times to rising positivity rates amid declining overall tests.

Giroir requested to appear on CNN on Friday afternoon after one of the network’s frequent guests, Dr. Ashish Jha, called out the White House on Friday morning for a having failed to test sufficiently to fully stop the spread and reopen schools.

“Just about everything he said was the opposite of what reality is. And that really troubled me,” Giroir said. “sAnd I want to make sure the American people understand where we are and where we’re going. No, we’re never going to be satisfied with testing. We need to do more, we need to do more, different kinds.”

“So I want to make these clarifications,” Giroir added detailing a number of testing efforts the federal government has undertaken. “Dr. Jha had been on TV so many times, he never once contacted the administration. I called him up. I said: ‘Look, if you have ideas of what we need to do or justify it, please tell me.’ I realize that the same generalizations get said over and over again without a justification. Yes, we want to increase testing. There is no physical way to do 5 million tests per day in this country. If there is a way to turn it from 1 million to 5 million day, let me know. We are investing in new technology. We are providing new euas. We’re investing heavily into point-of-care tests. Everything we can do, if there is something this administration…”

“Is that true?” Brown shot back. “Has the administration actually exhausted it to get more supplies like reagents and tips and other testing supplies to the labs? Is that true, everything’s been done?”

“I’m going to say definitively yes,” Giroir claimed.

However, data from the Covid tracking project shows that the seven-day average of nation’s daily testing numbers peaked on July 29 and has dropped by nearly 100,000 tests since then as of Friday.

“There is nothing else the administration can do to get more testing?” Brown pressed.

“You’ll hear a [Defense Production Act] action coming up early next week,” Giroir said.

“Okay. And what will that do?”

“Well, we continually use DPA and investments every day,” Giroir responded with answering the question.

“But would you say enough has been done to make sure that everyone who needs a test gets a test in this country?” Brown again pushed back.

“Everything that can possibly be done has been done.” Giroir claimed.”If there is a good idea, I want to hear it. We use investments, we use the DPA. We do everything. So, and I kind of feel okay because when Dr. Jha comes on TV and attacks whether I care about this country and my patriotism. I figure if you have to stoop that low, the other things must be doing okay.”

In fact, just last week, the head of the nation’s infectious diseases agency, Dr. Anthony Fauci slammed the nation’s testing posture as “unacceptable” and admitted that “to say anything different is distorting reality.”

Brown bored back into Giroir, pointing out that the “positivity rate is still above that key marker of 5% in at least 33 states” and “at least 33 states have a rising positivity rate. You said 90% are asymptomatic that are tested. But don’t those numbers show that there is a real problem here?”

“You stop the virus by instituting smart policies,” Giroir replied. “Wear a mask, watch your distance, and wash your hands…”

“You’ve said that so many times though!” Brown said, interrupting. “Arizona is one of the several states across the country that has a decrease in cases but also a decrease in testing. So are you concerned that could be a warning sign that people just aren’t going to get tested because they don’t want to have to wait so long to get their results back or wait in line?”

“So there are three questions and assumptions there and all of them are wrong,” Giroir shot back.

“I’m asking you. I’m not assuming anything. I’m just telling you, I’m looking at the numbers,” Brown said.

“You’re telling me, you’re not asking me,” a smiling Giroir responded.

“I’m looking at the numbers and I’m asking you a question, based on the numbers,” Brown patiently explained.

“So let me answer based on the numbers,” Giroir said, before acknowledging a “problem” with turnaround times from private laboratories like Quest and LabCorp, which he claimed has now been fixed.

“Hold on a second,” Brown cut in. “It sounds like you’re passing the buck to these private laboratories. Quest said last week the average turnaround time is seven days.”

“Have you checked this week? It’s two to three days,” Giroir said as a rebuttal.

“But that’s not the reality on the ground,” Brown noted moments later. “People we speak to say they’re waiting more than a week to get their results back.”

“I am not disputing that there’s going to be a lab here or there or there’s a private lab somewhere where turnaround time is long,” Giroir conceded. “We are attacking this on multiple fronts. By next month we’ll have more point-of-care tests than laboratory results, that’s instantaneous results.”

“By October or November, we’re going to have tens of millions of point of care test, probably over 50 million compared to only 20 or 30 or 40 million laboratory tests. It’s going to be dramatic,” Giroir said, tying testing increases two to three months away to the school re-openings happening right now. “And we are going to use that to support things like school opening.”

“Look, we’ve come a long way but we have a long way to go,” Giroir then acknowledged, before slamming Jha’s critical comments as “wrong” and “completely opposite of what reality is.”

Watch the video above, via CNN.

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