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Democrats have been notably hesitant to criticize President Biden about a continued shortage in testing kits for COVID-19.
An insufficient supply of COVID-19 tests had been a major point of criticism from Democrats toward former President Trump back in 2020.
“The White House, in baseball terms, was playing small ball,” Dr. Steven Phillips, vice president of science and strategy for COVID Collaborative, told Vanity Fair in December. “When it comes to rapid testing, they’re bunting the players along.”
Until recently, the White House had no plans to provide free tests for individuals. Last month, White House press secretary Jen Psaki mockingly dismissed the idea of free tests when it was suggested by NPR reporter Mara Liasson.
“Should we just send one to every American?” Psaki responded sarcastically. When Liasson said yes, Psaki challenged the idea.
“Then what happens … if every American has one test? How much does that cost, and then what happens after that?”
In April 2020, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., produced an open letter signed by 46 Democrats to former Vice President Pence. The document blasted the administration for “over-promising and under-delivering” on COVID-19 tests. It also demanded an increase in transparency and internal scrutiny of the administration’s test kit supply lines.
“Given the Administration’s track record of over-promising and under-delivering on testing for COVID-19, the public deserves full transparency about our national capacity for COVID-19 testing, including where tests are available, how many have been conducted, which patients have access to testing, and what the results of these tests revealed,” the senator wrote in the joint letter.
Just one month later, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., drafted yet another open condemnation of the Trump administration’s lack of sufficient testing supplies. This letter – signed again by dozens of Democratic Party leaders – explicitly blamed the federal government in large part for the failure to disperse the necessary kits.
“We are deeply troubled by the lack of detail and strategy in your testing blueprint, and we fundamentally reject the notion that the federal government bears this little responsibility in increasing testing capacity,” the Democrat leaders wrote.
Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., slammed the Trump administration for testing issues, calling the shortages “totally inexcusable.”
“[The testing shortage] has been one of the greatest failures of this administration, and I hope they learn from it,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told the hosts of “The View: in March 2020. “I want us to come together and solve this problem for people’s sake, not get political advantage, but the bottom line is Donald Trump said on March 6th, everyone who needs a test can get a test.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday said the CDC might adopt a new testing recommendation for Americans looking to leave isolation after five days – a measure which would come while COVID-19 test shortages are already plaguing the nation as the omicron variant of the coronavirus surges.
Americans waited for hours in long lines at testing sites as the omicron variant surged over the holiday season, especially after gatherings for Christmas. The White House said Americans would have to wait at least several weeks for the rollout of promised at-home testing kits.
Fox News’s Ron Blitzer and Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.