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Trump corrects Capitol Hill MD who says Covid-19 testing ‘NOT available’ for all senators – but critics are still not impressed

Trump corrects Capitol Hill MD who says Covid-19 testing ‘NOT available’ for all senators – but critics are still not impressed
US President Donald Trump touted the “tremendous coronavirus testing capacity” in the White House ahead of senators returning to work, but it’s not enough for his critics, who are asking, “What about the rest of the country?”

“There is tremendous coronavirus testing capacity in Washington for the senators returning to Capital [sic] Hill on Monday,” the president tweeted on Saturday. Predictably, Trump’s misspelling of ‘Capitol’ was not missed by critics, including Rep. Justin Amash (L-Michigan), who announced his intention this week to run against the president in November on the Libertarian Party ticket.

The president followed up the good news with a swipe at Nancy Pelosi and an order to Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff: “Likewise the House, which should return but isn’t because of Crazy Nancy P. The 5 minute Abbott Test will be used. Please inform Dr. Brian P. Monahan. @MarkMeadows.”

The Abbott Test, approved for use across Europe this week, can determine Covid-19 antibodies with 99 percent accuracy. 

Dr Brian P. Monahan, Capitol Hill’s in-house physician, earlier said that he did not have the supplies to test every senator returning to work – a shortfall the president obviously disagrees with. Politico reported on a call between Republican senators and Monahan that took place on Thursday, in which the doctor said he would therefore test only those showing symptoms.

However, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has stated that three testing machines and 1,000 kits are being delivered to Capitol Hill to test senators returning to work.

Even if Trump and Azar are right about testing being available for any senator needing or wanting it, that’s still not good enough for the president’s opponents. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) made clear on Saturday his view that his priority should be making the Abbott Test available for all Americans.

Presumptive presidential nominee for the Democrat Party Joe Biden went a step further and questioned Trump’s assertion about tests being so readily available: “On March 6th, Donald Trump said: ‘Anybody that wants a test can get a test.’ It was a lie then, and it’s still not true nearly two months later. It’s a disgrace, and it’s slowing efforts to reopen safely,” he tweeted.

Monahan issued guidelines to senators returning to work this week, advising them to wear face masks, avoid large gatherings, and limit the number of people in their offices. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) is the only senator known to have contracted the coronavirus thus far.

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