Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) takes a hit at President Trump for expressing optimism that coronavirus tests will eventually be widely available. From Tuesday’s Senate hearing featuring Dr. Anthony Fauci:
SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): I understand that politicians are going to frame data in a way that’s most positive politically. Of course, I wouldn’t expect that from Admirals, but yesterday you celebrated that we had done more tests and more tests per capita, even, than South Korea but you ignored the fact that they accomplished theirs at the beginning of the outbreak while we treaded water during February and March and the–and as a result, by March 6th, the U.S. had completed just 2000 tests whereas South Korea had conducted more than 140,000 tests. So partially as a result of that, they have 256 deaths, and we have almost 80,000 deaths. I find our testing record nothing to celebrate whatsoever. The fact is their test numbers are going down, down, down, down now because they don’t have the kind of outbreak we have. Ours are going up, up, up as they have to. I think that’s an important lesson for us as we think about the future. On a–on a separate topic, my impression is that, with regards to vaccines, where I’m critical of what we’ve done on testing, and vaccines, we’ve done it pretty darn good job of moving ahead pretty aggressively and yet, the president said the other day that President Obama is responsible for our lack of a vaccine. Dr. Fauci, is President Obama or, by extension, President Trump, did they do something that made the likelihood of creating a vaccine less likely? Are either president trump or President Obama responsible for the fact that we don’t have a vaccine now or–or in delaying it in some in some way? DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: No–no, senator. Not at–not at all. Certainly, President Obama nor President Trump are responsible for our not having a vaccine. We moved, as you said, because I described it in my opening statement, rather rapidly. No one has ever gone from knowing what the virus was to a phase one trial as fast as we’ve done. So I don’t think that’s something that one should say anybody is responsible for doing anything wrong in that. I think that’s right. That’s the correct way to do it. ROMNEY: Thank you. That was my impression. I was surprised by the comment, but that was my impression.