“I always feared this was what was happening”

But two officials working on the coronavirus response within the Trump administration, as well as state officials and experts in emergency response, told The Daily Beast that they did not take the president’s remarks lightly. Whether facetious or not, they argued, the casual indifference Trump displayed towards testing at his Tulsa rally only reaffirmed that his administration was not prepared when the pandemic response hit—and may still not be.

“I always feared this was what was happening,” said one state health official who coordinates with the federal government on testing. “But his speech last night really made it seem like maybe this is the reason why they were slow to get us the resources we needed to do the testing.”

And two administration officials, both of whom have worked alongside the president’s task force, said Trump’s speech Saturday reignited longstanding fears among some working on his coronavirus response that the administration may have attempted to find ways to deflate the U.S. case count.