President Donald Trump told reporters that he will bring back the early evening coronavirus press briefings this week, perhaps later in the day on Monday or on Tuesday.
His announcement comes after polling showing strong disapproval over the way that he has handled the pandemic, as a rising number of cases across many states is forcing new social distancing precautions and even reshuttering of businesses.
“We had very successful briefings. I was doing them, and we had a lot of people watching, record numbers watching,’ Trump said on Monday. “In the history of cable television, there’s never been anything like it.”
He indicated that a focus will be on the development of vaccines and therapeutics.
“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 is a good thing,” he said.
The nightly briefings that Trump held through the end of April at times stretched to two hours, and were a mixture of coronavirus information from members of the White House task force, the president’s penchant for sparring and airing grievances with the media and surreal moments.
On April 23, he suggested that a study be conducted of whether disinfectants could be injected into the body as a way of killing the virus. He later claimed his comments were sarcasm, but they drew widespread ridicule, and the White House backed away from the routine of nightly briefings. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has held about three briefings during the week.
A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll showed that 38 percent approve of the way that Trump has handled the coronavirus crisis, a fall from 46 percent in May. The poll showed that 60% disapprove, up from 53 percent in May.
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