U.S. President Donald Trump compared tests for the coronavirus to his call with Ukraine's president last year that was at the center of his impeachment, calling the tests "perfect." This is reported by The Hill.
Trump made the comparison while touring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, CDC Director Robert Redfield and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), among others.
"Anybody that needs a test gets a test; they're there, they have the tests, and the tests are beautiful," Trump told reporters during the visit, touting the administration's response as more than 270 cases of the virus were confirmed across more than two dozen states as of Friday.
"The tests are all perfect, like the letter was perfect, the transcription was perfect, right?" he added later. "This was not as perfect as that, but pretty good."
Lawmakers and state and local health officials have expressed frustration with the pace of testing for the coronavirus.
The CDC said it planned to send 75,000 tests by the end of the week, while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said more than 1 million tests manufactured by private companies were expected to be shipped out to hospitals and commercial labs by the end of the week.
Trump has repeatedly defended his July 2019 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a reconstituted partial transcript of which was released by the White House in the fall. The memo showed Trump asking Ukraine to look into former Vice President Joe Biden and his role in the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor. Democrats argued the memo showed Trump abusing his power by asking a foreign country to investigate a political rival, though Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
During his appearance Friday to tour the CDC, Trump also weighed in on a cruise ship being held off the coast of California where Vice President Pence said that 21 people have tested positive for coronavirus.
Trump expressed concern about bringing the individuals off the ship and treating them on land, noting that it would increase the number of cases in the U.S. But he said he would defer to Pence and other officials on how to proceed.
"I have great experts, including our vice president, who’s working 24 hours a day on this stuff," Trump told reporters. "They would like to have the people come off, I’d rather have the people stay. But I’d go with them. I told them to make the final decision.”