“I find our testing record nothing to celebrate whatsoever,” Romney said during a Senate hearing with members of the White House coronavirus task force on Tuesday.
Romney noted that during a press conference the day before, Trump and Adm. Brett Giroir touted the news that the United States is now conducting more tests per capita 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,” he said.
He continued, “And, as a result, by March 6, the U.S. had completed just 2,000 tests, whereas South Korea had conducted more than 140,000 tests.”
Watch the video below:
.@SenatorRomney: “Are either President Trump or President Obama responsible for the fact that we don’t have a vaccine now…?"— CSPAN (@cspan) May 12, 2020
Dr. Anthony Fauci: "No, Senator. Not at all. Certainly President Obama nor President Trump are responsible for our not having a vaccine." pic.twitter.com/TE8VdjnzTC
The White House has ramped up the country’s testing abilities significantly from the beginning of the outbreak. On Monday, Trump announced that the federal government $11 billion to states to help with their coronavirus testing plans.
South Korea, which has been seen as the gold standard for testing, has just under 11,000 coronavirus cases and 258 deaths.
In the early months of the outbreak, South Korea led the world coronavirus testing per capita. However, the U.S. is currently testing more than twice the number of people per capita than South Korea.
The U.S. is testing roughly 28,000 people per million, compared to 13,000 per million in South Korea. However, the U.S. is lagging behind Italy, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
But experts say that if the U.S. had ramped up testing sooner, it could have significantly slowed the spread of the virus.
Additionally, experts say that in order to safely reopen, the U.S. needs to test millions of Americans per day.
White House officials said on Monday that they hope to test 12.9 million people in May.
During the press conference on Monday, Trump claimed that the U.S. had “prevailed on testing.”
And Giroir said that “everybody who needs a test can get a test.” He specified that people who would “need” a test are individuals who have been exposed to the virus or are exhibiting symptoms.
But Romney took issue with Trump and Giroir’s comments about the country’s testing capabilities.
“I understand that politicians are going to frame data in a way that is most positive politically,” he said, adding, “Of course, I don’t expect that from admirals.”