“That’s just unforgivable in the pandemic right now,” said Mulvaney.
Mulvaney’s anecdote comes as the Trump administration – and especially President Donald Trump – has touted the country’s increased testing capacity since serious missteps early in paralyzed testing operations.
In a Friday interview with José Díaz-Balart of Telemundo, the President stated that “our tests are much better than anyone else”, and a few days earlier he had declared “the US is by far the number 1 in testing” in the world.
And the White House initially tried to ignore a new wave of cases across the South and West last month by attributing the new series of cases to greater availability of tests. But local leaders in areas where the new outbreaks are emerging have expressed concerns about the need for better testing, and the White House has been forced to turn course on a plan to end federal support for test sites in Texas.
On Sunday, the administration’s test tsar, Adm. Brett Giroir, that commercial labs, which he said perform half of the national tests, other than point-of-care tests, experienced delays in test results.
“We need to shorten the time to reverse those results, and we have some efforts,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
In a news conference on Monday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany dismissed Mulvaney’s concerns, noting that the US had conducted more than 40 million tests to date, claiming that “we are leading the world in testing”, while emphasizing that test capacity has improved significantly since the pandemic first broke out in the spring.
“So we’re a leader in testing, I’d say this means we’re doing pretty well,” said McEnany.
Mulvaney, who now serves as the government’s special envoy to Northern Ireland, focused on his suggestions to legislators as Congress is working to pass a fourth stimulus package later this month.
“Any incentive should be focused on the root cause of our recession: coping with Covid,” he wrote, focusing on research funding, temporary hospital beds, or therapeutics rather than tax incentives, including travel incentives – although tens of millions of Americans are not here work.