The White House on Monday canceled its daily Coronavirus Task Force briefing after President Trump lashed out at the media for what he called “hostile questions.”
While the White House said in its announced schedule on Sunday that a briefing would be held Monday at 5 p.m. EDT, multiple correspondents said the briefing has been canceled.
“After the President said this weekend that his virus briefings were ‘Not worth the time & effort,’ the White House canceled today’s Coronavirus news conference,” one reporter wrote on Twitter.
After the President said this weekend that his virus briefings were "Not worth the time & effort," the White House canceled today's Coronavirus news conference https://t.co/gXXI5HG50E
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) April 27, 2020
Kayleigh McEnany, the newly appointed White House press secretary, told reporters that there would be no briefing, The New York Times reported, but added that the briefings may rsume later in the week.
Over the weekend, Trump blasted the briefings, writing on Twitter: “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!”
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
And on Monday, before the White House announced the daily briefing would be canceled, Trump tweeted: “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!”
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
On Thursday, Trump was roundly mocked for supposedly suggesting the possibility of injecting disinfectant into patients to fight the coronavirus. He didn’t say that, instead saying only: “And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or, or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets on the lungs and it does a tremendous number, so it will be interesting to check that. So that you’re going to have to use medical doctors. But it sounds, it sounds interesting to me. So we’ll see.”
His comments came after Bill Bryan, head of the science and technology directorate at the Department of Homeland Security, discussed the findings of the federal government’s study on sunlight, humidity and temperature — as well as disinfectants’ — effect on the coronavirus.
“We’re also testing disinfectants readily available. We’ve tested bleach, we’ve tested isopropyl alcohol on the virus, specifically in saliva or in respiratory fluids. And I can tell you that bleach will kill the virus in five minutes; isopropyl alcohol will kill the virus in 30 seconds, and that’s with no manipulation, no rubbing — just spraying it on and letting it go. You rub it and it goes away even faster. We’re also looking at other disinfectants, specifically looking at the COVID-19 virus in saliva,” Bryan said.
On Friday, a White House official ordered a CNN reporter to swap her front-row seat with another reporter at the back of the briefing just before Trump appeared for his daily press conference with the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
The reporter, CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins, refused to swap seats, as did the other reporter. The official then said the Secret Service would get involved.
The seating chart in the briefing room is set by the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA), currently headed up by ABC’s Jonathan Karl, another reporter Trump doesn’t like.
Chris Johnson, a reporter with the Washington Blade, sent out a print pool report to other reporters detailing what happened.
“Earlier today before the briefing, a White House official instructed the print pooler to take CNN’s seat in the briefing room because the seating would be swapped for the briefing. Given the seating assignment is under the jurisdiction of the White House Correspondents’ Association, not the White House, pooler refused to move. The White House official then informed the print pooler swapping wasn’t an option and the Secret Service was involved. Again, pooler refused to move, citing guidance from the WHCA. The briefing proceeded with both CNN and print pooler sitting in their respective assigned seats,” Johnson wrote.
Friday’s briefing marked the first time Trump had held the briefing and then left without taking questions.
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