Trump announces coronavirus briefings to return this week
President Trump last held a briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic in April
President Donald Trump announced that he will return to regular coronavirus briefings at the White House against the backdrop of surging cases across the country.
The president made the declaration Monday during a meeting with congressional leaders, NBC News reported. It may resume as early as Tuesday which would come more than three months after Trump stopped his daily briefings in April.
“We had very successful briefings, I was doing them, and we had a lot of people watching — record numbers watching in the history of cable television,” Trump told reporters. “I think what we’re going to do is, I’ll get involved and we’ll start doing briefings, whether it’s this afternoon or tomorrow, probably tomorrow, and I’ll do briefings.”
Trump says he believes that becoming more visible on the pandemic will reassure the public and offer some guidance.
“I think it’s a great way to get information out to the public as to where we are with the vaccines, with the therapeutics, and generally speaking where we are. And so I think we’ll start that probably starting tomorrow,” Trump said. “I’ll do it at 5 o’clock like we were doing. We had a good slot and a lot of people were watching and that’s a good thing.”
Trump took the lead on the daily briefings in March and April and at times overshadowed noted professionals like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert. The briefings would often go on for almost two hours and veer into topics unrelated to the health pandemic.
Trump’s appearances ended shortly after he suggested taking hydroxychloroquine to treat the novel coronavirus.
“I think people should [take hydroxychloroquine],” he said in April. “If it were me, in fact, I might do it anyway. I may take it … I have to ask my doctors about that. But I may take it.”
His advisors believe that his slump in poll numbers is because he has not been visible to the public and seen taking charge of the crisis as cases increase around the country.
“There’s a sense that he’s been leading quietly on it but he needs to be leading more publicly on it,” an official told NBC.
White House adviser Kellyanne Conway also shared her opinion that Trump should return to the forefront as it would help his poll numbers. His disapproval rating on the handling of the virus is 50.2%, according to FiveThirtyEight.
Conway told Fox and Friends last week that Trump’s approval ratings were “much higher when he was out there briefing everybody on a day-by-day basis, just giving people the information.”
Subscribe to theGrio’s Dear Culture podcast on Spotify, Apple and Stitcher.