Fox & Friends hosts defend Trump's remarks about slowing down COVID-19 testing: “That's part of his delivery”

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Citation From the June 21, 2020, edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends Weekend

JEDEDIAH BILA (CO-HOST): One of the comments he made that was controversial, and the second he said it, I said, "Oh, that's going to be a clip, that's going to be the takeaway," was this one. Take a listen to what he had to say on coronavirus testing.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And we're testing. You know, testing is a double-edged sword. We've tested now 25 million people. It's probably 20 million people more than anybody else.


Here is the bad part. When you test, when you do testing to that extent, you're going to find more people, you're going to find more cases. So I said to my people, slow the testing down, please. They test and they test.


BILA: Yeah. So I thought he was being humorous here. I thought he was making a joke, like "Oh every--" because it's true, that the more people that you test and you're going to test a lot of people that are barely symptomatic, and they are going to test positive, and those numbers are going to go up. That's just what's going to happen.

I thought he was being funny, but at the same time, I immediately said, "Oh, there's the soundbite." That is exactly what happened because the Biden campaign came back, issued a statement, and said the following: "President Trump just admitted that he is putting politics ahead of the safety and economic well-being of the American people even as we just recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases in almost two months and 20 million workers remain out of work." Tweet from Biden: "Speed up the testing." So Pete, what do you make? Was it a blunder to say that or what do you think?

PETE HEGSETH (CO-HOST): No. I'll sum up the responses from the Biden campaign as blah, blah, blah, blah.

Ultimately, what you've got is, remember when he said that you're going to get so tired of winning -- we're going to win so much that you're going to be tired of winning, right, and you're going to say "Stop winning I don't want to win anymore"? I mean, this is how the president communicates when he's talking about -- he's saying, listen we delivered so much -- but of course, he is telling a story. Whenever they should take him literally, they take him figuratively, whenever they should take him figuratively they take him literally -- whatever is advantageous to their Trump hatred.

In this particular case, he is simply pointing out, which we did -- we've done on the show oftentimes, the more you test, the higher the cases go up, which makes the left-wing media mob say, "well President Trump is being irresponsible, he is opening up too soon." And you heard him when he talked about schools, which we'll talk about later on the show as well. He said schools should open up. They need to be open in the fall. Kids have robust immune systems. We have to get our country open again.

I think another word to sum up the speech is that he's sort of fed up, fed up with the way that COVID-19 is characterized by media, fed up with the unwillingness of people to be responsible about opening up and reviving our economy and it came through in that section.

GRIFF JENKINS (FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT AND CO-HOST): Yeah, I kind of sided with Jed here a little bit here, I heard that soundbite, I thought "that's a bad move, that doesn't seem to make a lot of sense." But you know, really giving it the context as you mentioned, Pete, one thing you have to take into consideration is that we've learned a lot more about both testing and the results as it pertains to children versus older people as well as the tracking and hospital capacity and so, perhaps he made the comment with a little more confidence that when we see these rises, in spikes, and we are seeing them in several states, we're going to be better suited to handle them, maybe that is what gave him the comfort to make a comment like.

HEGSETH: Again, media uses "spike," and it sounds like its a spike in hospital cases or deaths. And when you look at the lines, that's not what it is. It is spike in testing and positives, which you are going to have when you test more people. And so he is making a joke or a setting in other terms and the media goes nuts. And so, Jed, you were right to identify it, but it's so predictable. It's old, it's the old way of politics. And I think people see through it.

BILA: Yeah! Well, it is predictable, that's why the second that I even had a knee-jerk reaction because I said: "Oh, there is the clip." And that is exactly what it was. That was the clip. That's just part of his delivery, that's part of who he is, that's how he talks, that's how he presents stuff.