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President Trump on Monday appeared to take a swipe at congressional leaders, calling it “interesting” that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would turn down a White House offer to implement rapid coronavirus testing at the Capitol as lawmakers return to work.

“Interesting? By Congress not wanting the special 5 minute testing apparatus, they are saying that they are not 'essential,'” Trump tweeted Monday. “In any event, we have great testing capacity, and have performed 6.5 million tests, which is more than every country in the world, combined!”

The top two leaders at the Capitol issued a rare joint statement Saturday to "respectfully decline" the rapid testing, saying such technology should be saved for frontline workers rather than elected officials.


“Congress is grateful for the administration’s generous offer to deploy rapid COVID-19 testing capabilities to Capitol Hill, but we respectfully decline the offer at this time," McConnell and Pelosi said in the statement. "Our country’s testing capacities are continuing to scale up nationwide and Congress wants to keep directing resources to the front-line facilities where they can do the most good the most quickly."

The president quickly blamed “politics” for the bipartisan rejection of three new rapid-testing machines, which could deliver COVID-19 results in 5 minutes, even as the Senate reconvened in Washingon Monday for the first time since March 25. He insisted there is “plenty of testing” to go around.

“Crazy Nancy will use it as an excuse not to show up to work!” Trump continued. The House was set to return to work Monday as well, but the session was canceled on the advice of the attending physician, as several lawmakers and aides were sick with the virus.

The Trump administration’s offer for help came after Congress’ attending physician warned that while coronavirus tests would be available for staffers and lawmakers who are ill, there were not enough to test all 100 senators as the chamber comes back in session, Politico reported Thursday.


Dr. Brian Monahan said there is not sufficient capacity to quickly test senators for coronavirus -- unlike the White House, where people meeting with Trump and Vice President Pence are tested for the disease. The doctor said the test results in the Senate will take two or more days, while the White House has rapid testing, the news outlet reported.

But McConnell and Pelosi said they'll stick with their slower testing processes until the rapid technology is more "widely available" for others.

“Consistent with CDC guidelines, Congress will use the current testing protocols that the Office of the Attending Physician has put in place until these speedier technologies become more widely available," they said.

Earlier Saturday, Trump tweeted the "5 minute Abbott Test will be used" at the Capitol and called out the Capitol physician.

Many Democratic leaders have been hounding the Trump administration for more tests and have insisted a ramped-up testing deployment is critical before the country can reopen safely. Administration officials have insisted they’ve provided states with the capacity to test a baseline 2 percent of their populations before reopening, and are willing to work with governors for more testing if they wish to go beyond that.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar tweeted Friday the "good news" that the administration is bringing three new Abbott rapid-testing machines to the Capitol and 1,000 tests -- just in time for the Senate to reconvene.

"What about the rest of the country?" Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., responded.

Senate leaders are expected to deliver remarks on the floor late Monday afternoon, with an evening vote on the confirmation of Robert Feitel to serve on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Senators are expected to pop in, vote and leave to maintain social distancing.


While senators themselves will be present, much of their staff is expected to continue working remotely.

Fox News' Marisa Schultz and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.