Capitol Report: Trump’s daily coronavirus briefings might be a thing of the past
President says taking questions from White House reporters is ‘not worth the time and effort’
President Donald Trump limited his Friday briefing on the coronavirus pandemic to 21 minutes. He didn’t hold a briefing on Saturday, and none is on the schedule for Sunday, which, of course, could change.
It marks a dramatic departure from the roughly six hours the president has spent talking in the White House briefing room over some of the weekends since the pandemic began.
All of this has raised speculation that the president is going to end the practice of daily briefings.
That talk intensified after the president said Saturday on Twitter that the briefings are “not worth the time and effort.”
Trump’s briefings on the coronavirus, which started in March, were at first welcomed by much of the public. But over time, controversy has grown, often due to the president’s misstatements about the science or his verbal attacks on reporters. This led to calls from leading journalists like Margaret Sullivan of the Washington Post for the cable news channels to cease airing the briefings live.
Criticism of the president hit a new high Thursday after Trump openly urged his science team to study the possibility of injecting disinfectant into patients to fight the coronavirus.
By Friday, Trump was in damage-control mode, blaming reporters for taking seriously remarks that, the president said, were made in jest. He concluded that afternoon’s briefing without taking a single question from the press corps.
Asked if the briefings would be stopped, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that would be up to the president. She noted that Trump had taken “many” questions from reporters on Friday prior to the afternoon briefing.
Greg Valliere, chief U.S. policy strategist at AGF Perspectives, said earlier this month that the “cringe inducing” press conferences were not helping the president: “His polls are sinking fast,” he added.
A Fox News poll released Wednesday shows Vice President Joe Biden leading Trump in the key battleground states of Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania.