President Trump said Monday that his regular White House coronavirus briefings will return, starting tomorrow.
Trump said he plans to host them around 5 p.m. daily, as he did in March and April during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think it’s a great way to get information out to the public as to where we are with the vaccines with the therapeutics — and generally speaking, where we are,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.
“I think we’ll start that probably starting tomorrow. I’ll do it at 5 o’clock like we were doing. We had a good slot. And a lot of people are watching and that’s a good thing.”
The idea of resuming briefings had West Wing aides buzzing for days as some advisers pushed for Trump to regain control of his administration’s messaging and boost sagging public approval.
As the pandemic began, Trump headlined must-watch forums with journalists stretching up to two hours. He ended them after musing in late April about the possible use of disinfectants to cure COVID-19.
Trump said Monday he will bring guests to briefings including corporate leaders who can discuss development of vaccines and therapeutics.
“We’re going to have some of the heads of these great companies coming in. Johnson & Johnson is doing very well, in particular,” he said.
Trump said he feels “pretty damn certain that they’re going to have the vaccine” and linked the resumption of briefings to a surge in cases across the South and Southwest.
“We had very successful briefings. I was doing them, and we had a lot of people watching — record numbers watching. In the history of cable television — television, there’s never been anything like it,” he said. “A lot of positive things were happening… But we’ve had this big flare-up in Florida, Texas, a couple of other places. And so I think what we’re going to do is I’ll get involved and we’ll start doing briefings.”
Trump told The Post in an interview in May that he intended to resume the briefings. Adviser Kellyanne Conway told reporters Friday at the White House that “people want to hear from the president of the United States.”
“His approval rating on the pandemic was higher when he was at the podium,” Conway argued. “I don’t think anybody needs to be up there for two hours. It can be 20 minutes, 30 minutes. It can be two questions, it can be no questions, respectfully, as long as the information is being delivered.”