Donald Trump is bringing back regular coronavirus briefings at the White House, in the wake of his low polling numbers. According to The New York Times, on Monday Trump spoke with reporters about the decision, saying, "I was doing them and we had a lot of people watching, record numbers watching in the history of cable television." He added, "There’s never been anything like it." The briefings resume as Trump reportedly trails Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden 55 percent to 40 percent among registered voters, per a recent poll, The Times reports.
The outlet reports that Trump originally ended the briefings due to heavy criticism, and saying that it was "not worth the time & effort." Now, after COVID-19 cases have been surging again, especially in southern and western states, he has decided that the briefings are of value. "It's a great way to get information out to the public as to where we are with the vaccines, with the therapeutics," Trump stated. The Times notes that Trump is correct about the brief ratings. They were averaging about 8.5 million viewers, which is about how many watched the season finale of The Bachelor. Trump will likely resume briefings at the same time, 5 p.m., as he says, "We had a good slot."
As President Trump is set to resume coronavirus briefings today, @CapehartJ says White House staffers hoping he’ll stay on topic are “riding in the front seat of a rollercoaster with no lap bar.”
Trump “has shown over 3 and a half years that he has no discipline.” pic.twitter.com/xpYXcgTSAC— MSNBC (@MSNBC) July 21, 2020
Not everyone is on board with Trump leading the coronavirus briefings, however, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeting out his opposition to Trump's involvement. "When the White House coronavirus briefings resume, President Trump should not take the podium," Schumer wrote. "Every time he takes the podium he’s a threat to public health."
Notably, Dr. Anthony Fauci — the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — has stated that he was not even aware that coronavirus briefings were resuming. Fauci — who was an integral part of the White House's coronavirus task force — was speaking with Maria Shriver on Instagram Live when she informed him of the plans. "I have not gotten official word of when the next one was," he said, per MSN. "I was down at the White House just this afternoon. If they start the briefings, I would imagine I'm going to be part of it, at least some of them." When asked about a specific Tuesday briefing, Fauci replied, "Well, I don't know if there's even going to be a briefing (on Tuesday). I don't know that."