The White House did not schedule a coronavirus task force briefing for Tuesday as the administration begins to step back from the once daily events amid criticism.
This would be the fourth day in a row without a coronavirus briefing, which have been an almost every day occurrence for the past month, and comes as the White House signaled it would change how it handles messaging around the pandemic. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany suggested Monday that briefings may not happen daily going forward and acknowledged they might have a “different look” and “different focus.”
The move comes after the White House had initially scheduled a task force briefing for Monday before canceling it hours later. Shortly after, the office announced Trump would be holding a news conference in the Rose Garden.
However, the press conference ran fairly similarly to the coronavirus task force briefings and included remarks from members of the task force who had who regularly appeared during the daily briefings, including: Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, and Vice President Pence, who leads the task force.
During the conference, Birx and Adm. Brett Giroir discussed the country’s strategy on testing. Pence joined Trump in touting the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic thus far.
In the press guidance for Tuesday, Trump is scheduled to deliver remarks on “supporting our nation’s small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program” in the Rose Garden in the afternoon.
The move by the White House to pull back on coronavirus task force briefings comes as Trump has faced blowback from critics and some Republicans concerned that the briefings could hurt the party’s chances in the fall.
Trump, who has been criticized for using the briefings to air political grievances and argue with the media, faced a wave of backlash over the weekend after comments he made Thursday suggesting disinfectants be looked into as a possible treatment for the novel coronavirus, which he has since said were intended to be sarcastic.
Trump later knocked news media and questioned the purpose of the daily briefings in a tweet over the weekend, saying they were“not worth the time & effort!”
“What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately,” Trump tweeted on Saturday.