Donald Trump looks on as Mike Pence speaks during a White House briefing on the coronavirus pandemic: AP
The White House cancelled a planned Monday afternoon coronavirus task force briefing, the third consecutive day Donald Trump was not scheduled to appear for what had become his daily – and chaotic – Covid-19 press conference. But, later, his press secretary tweeted that Mr Trump would indeed brief the country on Monday evening.
“UPDATE: The White House has additional testing guidance and other announcements about safely opening up America again. President @realDonaldTrump will brief the nation during a press conference this evening,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted.
Instead, the president will face reporters during a 4 p.m. event at the White House. He often takes questions during those kinds of “pool sprays.” The Monday move comes after he left his Friday night briefing after just 22 minutes without taking questions.
Ms McEnany had told reporters earlier Monday morning that the daily press briefings are expected to resume later this week, but likely with a facelift.
“They might have a new look to them, a new focus to them,” she said.
The on-again-off-again-on-again nature of the Monday briefing is merely the latest time the Trump White House struggled with scheduling and sent mixed messages.
The three-day briefing pause comes after Mr Trump on Thursday night suggested Americans might inject disinfectant into their bodies to kill Covid-19. The next day, taking questions during an Oval Office event, he claimed to be making a sarcastic remark, though video of the incident clearly showed otherwise.
The president also falsely claimed to be talking to reporters and a Department of Homeland Security scientist, but video and transcripts show him addressing Deborah Birx, one of his top public health officials.
“Not as a treatment,” she replied to his suggestion about injecting disinfectant.
On Friday, manufacturers of powerful cleaning products felt a need to issue statements urging Americans to avoid doing so.
Even some GOP state leaders, including Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, reported “hundreds” of calls from citizens asking if they could inject disinfectant.
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