Trump won't commit to getting tested but says 'it's something I would do'

Congress unlikely to send president an emergency economic stimulus package before week-long break

National guard deployed in New York to stop spread of coronavirus

Donald Trump for the first time left the door open to getting tested for coronavirus after interacting with several members of Congress who had contact with an infected person.

"I don't think it's a big deal. I would do it," he told reporters on Capitol Hill. "I feel extremely good. I feel very good. But I guess it's not a big deal to get tested, and it's something I would do."

But he did not commit to it after taking a limousine and Air Force One ride on Monday with Florida GOP Congressman Matt Gaetz, and shaking hands on Friday with Georgia GOP Congressman Doug Collins. Both are among several lawmakers in self-quarantine, despite claiming no virus symptoms, after interacting with the positive individual at a conservative policy conference that Mr Trump also attended.

The president made those remarks as he left a meeting about the coronavirus outbreak with Senate Republicans. He made the rare trip to the Capitol to try and rally his fellow Republicans around an economic stimulus plan his staff is still cobbling that they say is needed to ward off a major slowdown amid coronavirus fears.

As he headed back to the White House, he again downplayed the threat from the sickness: "It will go away. Just stay calm."

He did not explain why he thinks so, but in recent weeks has said he expects as temperatures warm, the virus will be killed. Some public health experts disagree, however.

Democrats and some former public health officials have criticised Mr Trump for being too dismissive of the virus, saying his administration's response was too slow, causing, among other things, a delay in the production of testing kits.

The president was on Capitol Hill to float his proposal to slash payroll taxes, help hourly workers not miss paychecks if they get sick, and provide federal assistance to small business. So far, most GOP lawmakers are taking a wait-and-see approach as both chambers of Congress get ready for a week-long recess next week. Mr Trump fired off a tweet earlier Tuesday blaming House Democrats for the expectation around Washington that no coronavirus stimulus is likely to reach his desk before lawmakers return later this month. But Republicans control the Senate, including the legislative calendar.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in