President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at the Bank of Oklahoma Center in Tulsa, Okla., on June 20, 2020. Photo by Kyle Rivas/UPI | License Photo
June 23 (UPI) -- Three days after restarting his campaign tour in Oklahoma, President Donald Trump visited Arizona Tuesday where he continued to blame testing for the country's high tally of COVID-19 cases and praised the construction of an expanded physical barrier on the southern U.S. border.
While speaking to a crowd in the auditorium of Dream City Church in Phoenix, Trump repeated his stance that testing rates have contributed to the United States reporting more coronavirus cases than any other nation at 2.3 million, according to Johns Hopkins University.
"When you have all those tests, you have more cases," said Trump who has regularly boasted that the United States conducts more testing than other nation. "Then they'll say, 'We have more cases.' We want to do testing. We want to do everything. But they use it to make us look bad."
During his rally in Tulsa last week, Trump said he asked officials to "slow the testing down." Members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force all testified during a hearing before Congress on Tuesday that they had received no such direction and White House officials insisted Trump was joking.
The president on Tuesday told reporters "I don't kid," and tweeted that "with smaller testing, we would show fewer cases!"
Arizona reported a single-day record of 3,591 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the sixth consecutive day of at least 2,000 new coronavirus cases, and intensive care patients also reached record numbers, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said Monday she was in opposition to Trump's church rally and urged attendees to wear protective face coverings -- including Trump.
"Everyone attending tomorrow's event, particularly any elected official, should set an example to residents by wearing a mask," she said in a statement. "This includes the president."
Earlier in the day, Trump participated in a roundtable briefing on border security before departing for San Luis to visit a section of border wall that's under construction to "celebrate the 212th plus mile of completion."
Trump examined the barrier, which mostly consisted of reinforcing and replacing existing barriers, and declared it "really foolproof."
"It's just great," Trump said later during the rally. "Nobody's getting through."
Trump's trip to Arizona -- his third visit to the state in five months -- concluded with the afternoon speech, organized by Students for Trump, at Dream City Church in Phoenix, where the White House said he will speak to young Americans.
Gov. Doug Ducey, who will accompany Trump during the visit, had come under pressure to cancel the events due to the upsurge of COVID-19 cases and faced "boos" from the crowd at the rally as he appeared alongside the president. A pair of Trump campaign staffers tested positive following the president's rally in Tulsa last weekend, which was his first in months.