Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease doctor, said President Trump and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were not to blame for a lack of coronavirus testing kits that has prompted criticism of the administration as cases continue to grow in the United States.
Speaking on "The Hugh Hewitt Show" on Tuesday, Fauci -- also the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases -- was asked about the slow rollout of test kits, saying the delay was due to a "technical glitch" that slowed things down and a series of "multiple things that conflated."
"There [weren’t] any bad guys there. It just happened," Fauci said. "And then when we realized, when the CDC realized, and the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] said both the system itself as it was set up, which serves certain circumstances very well, was not well-suited to the kind of broad testing that we needed the private sector to get involved in."
"Was the glitch or anything about the production of the test President Trump’s fault?" Hewitt asked. " Or actually, let me put it more broadly, would every president have run into the same problem?"
"Oh, absolutely. This has nothing to do with anybody’s fault, certainly not the president’s fault," Fauci replied.
Trump has come under heavy criticism from Democrats for the shortage of testing kits and for downplaying the severity of the pandemic. At one point, he compared it to the flu. Fauci has said the virus is worse than the flu and that things “will get worse before they get better.”
When Trump declared a national emergency last week, he denied any responsibility for the shortage.
“No, I don’t take responsibility at all because we were given a set of circumstances and we were given rules, regulations and specifications from a different time," Trump said during a news conference in the Rose Garden. "It wasn’t meant for this kind of an event."
As of Tuesday, there were more than 6,300 cases recorded in the United States and nearly 100 deaths. To expand testing, Trump announced partnerships with American companies to make kits available.
"I believe now that the CDC and the FDA and the department, that we’ve got it right now, because we’re handing much of it over to the private sector to heavy-hitter companies that do this for a living," Fauci said. "And I think what you’re going to be seeing looking forward is a major, major improvement in the availability of testing."