Rosie O'Donnell has words for President Donald Trump concerning his initial response to the coronavirus. Slamming him as a "disappointment," the 57-year-old comedian called out Trump, 73, for calling the coronavirus a "hoax" brought on by the Democratic party.
"There's tremendous confusion, and it comes right from President Trump and it started from him saying it was a hoax, a democratic hoax," The View alum said during an interview with TMX News on Thursday evening, PEOPLE reports. O'Donnell, who has famously feuded with Trump over the years — even long before he was president — was referring to Trump shrugging off the virus as a rally in South Carolina on Feb. 28, saying at the time, "They tried anything, they tried it over and over. And this is their new hoax."
"At this level of iris that he would choose to go that way, I mean — he really is such a disappointment to so many people on so many different levels," O'Donnell said of Trump.
In the weeks that have followed said rally, Trump has since declared a national emergency and signed into law a legislation that will provide relief to Americans affected by the virus. Bringing up Trump's promise of "millions of beautiful tests for coronavirus," O'Donnell slammed the slow course of action over recent weeks.
"We needed the test kits months ago. No one answered why he decided not to take the World Health Organization tests. I think it was for him to try making the tests in the United States," she said.
"We need to — when this is over — to get through the reasons why things happened as they did, so we can makes sure this never happens again. We're looking forward to a time when the nation has a leader they can trust, who doesn't lie to them."
"The fact that there is no federal leadership is adding to the anxiety that the country has," she said, adding that she thinks voters will make themselves heard come the presidential election in November. "In November I think Americans will use their voices loud and strong."
The current Centers for Disease Control guidelines say that people who think they should be tested can go to their doctor, who will then determine if their symptoms warrant a test. But many Americans have been getting turned away, largely due to a lack of testing kits. The CDC told lawmakers last week that they tested around 3,800 people, and outside laborites have tested an additional 7,800. That sum of 11,600 — a tiny fraction of the U.S. population — contradicts Trump's statement that an American who "needs a test gets a test."
Tests are not readily available because of a manufacturing problem with the first batch of kits, made by the CDC. Correcting that error delayed production, with the CDC only recently sending new versions out to states. Additionally, the CDC restricted private health companies from creating their own kits without approval from the Food and Drug Administration until Feb. 29. That means that the kits will come after the virus has already spread across the country.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that the U.S. is "failing" in their capacity to test for coronavirus. "The system is not really geared to what we need right now — what you are asking for," he told House lawmakers during hearings on March 12. "The idea of anybody getting it easily the way people in other countries are doing it, we're not set up for that. Do I think we should be? Yes. But we're not."
Currently, there have been over 246,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide, with 10,038 deaths, according to data gathered by Johns Hopkins. In the United States, out of 14,250 cases, there have been 205 deaths and 121 recoveries.