Trump forgoes WH press briefing for the first time since Easter weekend

For the first time since Easter weekend, President Trump did not hold a press briefing Saturday at the White House with the coronavirus task force, a move that could signal a change in the frequency of the president’s appearances in the weeks to come. 

The White House press pool’s call time on Saturday was pushed from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and at 5:11 p.m. the same day, a travel/photo lid was called.

Since March, Trump and Vice President Pence have given almost 50 daily press briefings to update the country on the administration’s ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 53,000 people in the U.S.

Trump and his task force held an unusually short briefing on Friday, running about 25 minutes. Trump’s briefing the previous Friday lasted around an hour and 45 minutes.

A report from Axios on Friday said the White House is reportedly planning to scale back virus-related briefings and may no longer appear daily.

Both the administration’s reported decision to scale back press briefings and Trump’s absence from the White House briefing room podium come after the president’s controversial comments Thursday during a press conference where he suggested the possibility of treating coronavirus patients by hitting their bodies with light or using disinfectant injections.

The comments garnered national attention, and Trump came under heavy fire from health experts in the hours following his statement.  

On Friday, Trump said that he was being sarcastic, with White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany saying that the media took Trump’s comments out of context.

McEnany addressed the topic of press conferences briefly early Saturday afternoon but did not offer further insight as to whether the briefings would be stopped or reduced.

“Look, I leave that to the president. That’s entirely his decision, but I believe the president is at his best when he’s speaking directly to the American people,” she said.

Trump took to Twitter about 45 minutes later, addressing the topic of his briefings.

“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.

He added, “They get record ratings, & the American people get nothing but Fake News. Not worth the time & effort!”

The Hill has reached out to the White House for further comment.

Tags Coronavirus coronavirus press briefings Donald Trump Kayleigh McEnany Trump
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