President Donald Trump attends a press briefing with the Coronavirus Task Force, at the White House, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in Washington.
Watch Trump's evolution on Covid-19 response
04:17 - Source: CNN
Washington CNN  — 

President Donald Trump claimed Tuesday that he had “always” known the coronavirus outbreak was a pandemic. So a reporter asked him on Thursday: if he had known this, why was the country not prepared to do the necessary coronavirus testing?

Trump responded with a claim so inaccurate it bordered on nonsensical.

“We were very prepared. The only thing we weren’t prepared for was the – the media. The media has not treated it fairly,” Trump said at a White House briefing.

Facts First: The insufficient number of tests available to Americans had nothing to do with “the media.” Prominent media outlets have accurately reported that there was a shortage of tests and a shortage of key testing supplies, that testing was not being made available even to some sick people whose doctors wanted them tested, that initial test kits from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were faulty and that lawmakers from both parties were unhappy about the unavailability of tests.

Trump, conversely, for weeks downplayed the risk posed by the coronavirus. The media outlet he cites most frequently, Fox News, did the same.

At CNN, we start with the facts. Visit CNN’s home for Facts First.

Trump and his team have made multiple inaccurate claims on the subject of coronavirus testing.

Trump has wrongly blamed a nonexistent rule change by President Barack Obama’s administration for supposedly impeding testing. And Trump misled the public about the availability of tests, wrongly claiming on March 6 that “anybody that wants a test can get a test. That’s what the bottom line is.” (Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar claimed Trump was using “shorthand” for the fact that “we as regulators, or as those shipping the test, are not restricting who can get tested.”)

Azar himself has exaggerated the number of people who have been tested. Azar also falsely claimed, on March 6, that “there is no testing kit shortage, nor has there ever been,” though Vice President Mike Pence had said the day prior: “We don’t have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward.”