At what was supposed to be his comeback rally after a months long hiatus, President Donald Trump's night at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma made news for all the wrong reasons.
After weeks of him and his staff boasting a record number of reservations for the rally, only 6,200 people showed up to the 19,200 seat arena. An overflow area—where Trump was to give a second address to those who couldn't get a seat in the stadium—was taken down early after proving unnecessary.
One of the most disturbing moments of Trump's erratic address came when he repeated his usual skepticism of testing for the virus He followed it with a shocking admission.
The President said:
"You know testing is a double-edged sword...When you do testing to that extent you're going to find more cases. So I said to my people slow the testing down."
The President, who has called testing "overrated" in the past, appeared to be confirming earlier reporting that his administration pushed against widespread testing in order to keep the number of documented cases low. The administration's months-long testing crisis was one of the chief culprits of the virus's spread.
When asked about Trump's disturbing remarks on Monday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that Trump said the remarks "in jest."
"It was a comment that he made in jest. It was a comment that he made in passing."
McEnany blamed the media for what she believes is a refusal to report the false claim that the United States leads the world in testing.
It took less than 24 hours for the President to directly contradict his press secretary.
When asked if he was "kidding" about slowing down testing, Trump said:
"I don't kid...We have got the greatest testing program anywhere in the world. We test better than anybody in the world, our tests are the best in the world, and we have the most of them...Therefore, we test, we're gonna have more cases. By having more cases, it sounds bad but actually what it is is we're finding people."
To many, Trump had yet again revealed his character.
The focus soon turned to McEnany and her contradictory claims.
People are deeply upset at the President's comments.
The cycle of Trump making a disturbing statement, his staff assuring he's joking, followed by Trump saying explicitly that he wasn't is sadly familiar.
McEnany will likely face questions about the discrepancy at her next briefing.