White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Tuesday argued that President Donald Trump was "using sarcasm" when he said that he asked officials to slow COVID-19 testing.
Trump initially made the remarks at a rally in Tulsa on Saturday.
"Slow the testing down, please," Trump recalled telling administration officials at the rally.
White House officials told reporters that the president had made the comments as a joke.
McEnany said on Monday that remarks were “made in jest, a comment that he made in passing.”
But while speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Trump insisted that he never jokes.
"I don’t kid," the president said. "Let me just tell you -- let me make it clear: We have got the greatest testing program anywhere in the world."
During a flight on Air Force One later on Tuesday, McEnany refined her description of Trump's initial claim that he tried to slow testing.
"I've talked to the president a lot about testing today," McEnany explained to reporters on the plane. "But what he was making was a serious point, which is why he said, 'I don't kid.' He was noting -- he was making a serious point but he was using sarcasm to do that at the rally."
UPDATE: @PressSec told reporters aboard Air Force One that the President was using “sarcasm” in his original commen… https://t.co/Zur4SChkkh— Weijia Jiang (@Weijia Jiang)1592936539.0