[Update 2:10 p.m.: White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said President Donald Trump will now appear at the daily press briefing. It just goes to show in this "new normal" that constant checking in regarding media briefing updates—no matter what public figure or industry—is necessary.]
After a weekend without any coronavirus task force updates from the federal government, the White House announced a full cancellation of today’s briefing.
This comes after a busy weekend of tweeting from President Donald Trump, who questioned the purpose of the briefings and called out the “Lamestream media.”
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. They get record ratings, & the American people get nothing but Fake News. Not worth the time & effort!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 25, 2020
There has never been, in the history of our Country, a more vicious or hostile Lamestream Media than there is right now, even in the midst of a National Emergency, the Invisible Enemy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 27, 2020
President Trump took no questions at the last coronavirus briefing, held Friday, April 24. This came one day after he suggested testing “disinfectant” to treat the virus. According to The New York Times, new White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that “Mr. Trump is expected to open up a meeting with industry executives scheduled in the White House at 4 p.m., addressing a small pool of reporters.” She also said that the briefings may continue later this week in a new format.
Regardless of what is going on behind closed doors at the White House, the public looks to the task force, as well as the president, to deliver the latest information during the pandemic. Canceling the briefings broadcasts an odd message, closing a line of communication that media and citizens utilize daily while the rapidly-spreading virus affects numerous industries.
Unfortunately, the messaging from the president at the briefings can seem muddied at times, leaving his internal aids to wonder if a daily briefing is necessary. One administration official told NBC News the strategy should be reassessed.
“You cannot keep doing these press conferences if you don’t have significant updates,” they said.
This differs significantly from the strategy embraced by Trump’s team about a month ago, where his presence meant everything. Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh told NBC that “Americans want to see their president out front, leading the country through difficult periods, and that’s exactly what President Trump is doing. He and the experts on his Coronavirus Task Force provide much-needed daily updates to citizens and reassure them that their federal government is on the case.”
It will be interesting to see what strategy the White House takes next, as public communication plays a large role in building public trust. Maybe it will hold briefings with the medical doctors of the task force or economic advisors. For now, we’ll wait, as the president is still active on Twitter and very much a fan of the camera. We’ll see how long the break endures.
This article is part of PRNEWS' daily COVID-19 coverage, click here to see the latest updates.