Now there is concern that Trump was serious when he claimed he had ordered a slowdown of testing for Covid-19. It wasn’t just some shit he was saying in between his bizarre descriptions of of rape/homicides by strange dark men climbing through windows. (For a picture of the true unhinged weirdness of the Saturday rally speech, do see Jeff Sharlet, “’You Know What to Do’: Decoding the Grotesque Symbolism of Trump’s Tulsa Rally.”)
White House spokespeople are saying the remark was a “joke” or “tongue in cheek,” but I saw that part of the video, and there was no indication Trump was joking. If he was, possibly someone should tell him not to joke because he doesn’t really understand the humor thing.
Today Democrats said that money appropriated for Covid-19 testing hasn’t been spent. The Hill:
The Trump administration has yet to distribute nearly $14 billion intended to help state and local governments improve coronavirus testing and contact tracing, according to two top Democrats.
In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Health Committee ranking member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said the administration needs to “immediately” distribute the funding.
Congress in April provided more than $25 billion to increase testing and contact tracing capacity, as well as $2 billion to provide free COVID-19 testing for the uninsured by paying providers’ claims for tests and other services associated with getting a test, like an office or emergency room visit.
But according to Schumer and Murray, the administration has no plans for how to distribute more than $8 billion out of the $25 billion, leaving communities without needed resources.
When asked if he had really slowed down testing, Trump did not give a straight answer. This is weird, since he doesn’t hesitate to lie about anything else.
VIDEO: Just asked President Trump if he actually ordered testing to be slowed down. He said in his Saturday speech he did. He didn’t answer the direct question. pic.twitter.com/aDKGu6F2Ok
— Joe St. George (@JoeStGeorge) June 22, 2020
So there’s that. He couldn’t just say no, I didn’t order less testing. That means he did, and he’s not sure why people think that’s a problem.
See also Andrew Solender at Forbes, “Trump Says U.S. Has Done ‘Too Good A Job’ At Coronavirus Testing As Democrats Allege Billions In Unspent Testing Funds.”
Bonus Feature: See Greg Sargent, “Trump’s sparse rally crowd enraged him. His advisers just revealed why.”
Don’t look now, but President Trump may finally be realizing, with creeping dread, that there may be limits to his magical lying and reality-bending powers. He may be grasping that his capacity to mesmerize his supporters into disbelieving what their own eyes and ears are telling them is not absolute after all.