ATLANTA — President Donald Trump's trip Friday to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention turned into a scattershot defense of his administration's handling of the growing coronavirus crisis.
Trump, wearing his “Keep America Great" campaign hat - flanked by Georgia's Governor Brian Kemp - discussed the global worry, falsely declared that a test for the virus was available for anyone who wanted.
"Anybody that wants a test can get a test," the president was quoted.
CDC Secretary Alex Azar and CDC director Robert Redfield were also on hand during the President's public remarks, where they outlined the specifics of the lab where the materials that go into the diagnostic test and vaccines are generated.
"They've done an incredible job," the president remarked. "They heard there was a problem in China and they' started working. That's why we're in good shape."
Redfield said they developed the test after seven days, and said 4 million tests are set to be ready by the end of the week. Azar added that 700,000 tests have shipped so far this week.
But the meeting was also, at times, confrontational, as the President called the Democratic governor of a state impacted by the virus “a snake." And he suggested that those exposed to the virus on a cruise ship be left aboard so they wouldn't count in the nation's total.
The visit to the Atlanta-based CDC came after Trump signed an $8.3 billion measure to help tackle the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.
Trump had planned to sign the bill during a visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, according to Vice President Mike Pence, but the White House suddenly canceled a visit to the agency Friday, before announcing it was back on, hours later.
The legislation Trump signed provides federal public health agencies money for vaccines, tests and potential treatments. More than a dozen people have died in the U.S., and at least 200 cases.
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