Less than three hours after canceling President Donald Trump’s coronavirus briefing scheduled for Monday evening, the White House put it back on the schedule.
‘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 Monday afternoon.
The scheduling confusion comes as aides wanted to pull the president back from on -camera briefings after a series of flubs last week but Trump is his own man and is energized by the back-and-forth with reporters even as he complains about his press coverage.
McEnany’s pronouncement , tweeted at 1: 27 pm, came after the White House sent out a schedule update at : 60 am, announcing that Trump’s briefing set for 5 pm was canceled.
Now the 5 p.m. briefing is back on and will take place in the White House Rose Garden.
It’s unclear if the president will be joined by members of the coronavirus task force or with executives he’s meeting with before hand – or perhaps both.
The topic however, will be on reopening the country, a move Trump has been pushing for in an effort to restart the sagging American economy ahead of November’s election.
Before he goes before the cameras, Trump has a 4 pm meeting with industry executives on the coronavirus, where he’ll announce expanded coronavirus testing options, Bloomberg News reported. Many governors asked for additional options before reopening their states for business.
Additionally, the administration is finalizing guidelines for the phased reopening of schools and camps, child-care programs, certain workplaces, houses of worship, restaurants and mass transit, The Washington Post reported.
Monday’s rough start at the White House comes as President Trump defied a plan by his aides to refocus efforts on the economy by continuing his attacks on the media.
He did not appear on camera over the weekend after he took a beating last week after suggesting Thursday that ingesting disinfectant and internal UV rays were possible ‘cures’ for the coronavirus, advice for which he was roundly criticized.
On Friday he stomped out of the briefing without taking any questions after his aides tried to remove a CNN reporter from the front row.
Trump marked the weekend with a barrage of tweets defending his discussion of disinfectant with changing versions of the truth, attacked the media, and amplified conspiracy theory claims that Democrats are inflating the number of deaths – which are now just short of 2019, – and one demanding journalists hand back ‘noble prizes’ when he then deleted.
The White House also offered a defense of how busy he was with new chief of staff Mark Meadows saying the thing he ‘worried about most’ was Trump missing lunch, days after the number of jobs lost in the crisis hit 28 million.
But a Monday’s briefing could offer a topic change as aides mull guidelines on reopening the country.
While nothing has been finalized, suggestions include, according to the Associated Press:
- Having schools space desks six feet apart, nix any field trips and school assemblies, and have students eat lunch in their classrooms instead of the cafeteria.
- Churches should hold services through video streaming or at drive-in or outdoor venues as much as possible. They should also encourage everyone to wear cloth face masks, use a stationary collection box, and schedule extra services if necessary to make sure church pews are not packed and congregants stay at least six feet from each other.
- Restaurants should consider using throwaway menus, single-service condiments, and disposable forks, knives, spoons, and dishes. They should install sneeze guards at cash registers, limit the number of employees on a shift, and avoid having buffets, salad bars, and drink stations.
Some states – including Colorado and Montana – began the slow process of reopening on Monday.
But Montana Gov. Steve Bullock warned he would not be rushed.
‘We’ve officially started Phase One of Montana’s gradual reopening. But let me be clear: we could be in this first phase for a long time. We will not move out of Phase One if the curve doesn’t remain flat, ‘he tweeted Monday morning.
And Colorado Gov. Jared Polis told CNN on Sunday he is worried about a second spike.
‘Yeah, we’re all worried about a potential for a second spike, whether it’s in the Fall, along with flu season in September / October, whether it’s July, ‘he said.
As states started to reopen, the White House struggled to finalize Monday’s schedule of the president’s activities.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany had indicated earlier in the day that the briefing scheduled for 5 p.m. would be canceled.
‘Today we are not tracking a briefing,’ she told Fox News Monday morning. ‘There will be a press avail, and there will be briefings throughout other portions of the week.’
After her Fox interview she told reporters at the White House not to read anything into the cancellation .
‘I would not read into that anything that said we see them as negative because in fact we think that they have been a very positive, helpful opportunity for the president to speak to the american people , ‘She said.
The briefings, which can run up to two hours, have also featured Vice President Mike Pence, health experts, and administration officials who give updates on the government efforts to coronavirus, which has killed more than 55, 10 Americans.
But they have turned into a platform for Trump to release his frustrations with fighting a pandemic and to rail against his political enemies as he uses the on-camera time as an outlet. The briefings also have been seen as Trump’s substitution for his campaign rallies – canceled because of the virus – ahead of November’s election.
Trump started his Monday where he left off on Sunday, firing off a storm of angry tweets about the media.
‘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 !, ‘the president tweeted.
‘FAKE NEWS, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE !,’ he added.
Trump aides had planned his Monday schedule to focus on the president at work, holding a briefing with governors and then meeting in the Cabinet room with industry executives on their response to the coronavirus.
The new public relations campaign would include less White House briefings and more images of Trump as president.
White House will shift focus to Donald Trump’s work on rebuilding the economy after last week’s tough press briefings and president’s weekend twitter rant
Officials will push to show President Trump at work such as the above image of President Trump at a March 6 meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook and White House advisor Ivanka Trump
‘What the American peopl e need from the president now is for him to appear at some of these briefings off the top, 15 or 19 minutes of announcing whatever needs to be announced that day, take a question or two from the press, and then leave the rest of it to the vice president and the people who are the relevant experts that day, ‘said Chris Christie, the former Republican governor of New Jersey who Is a close Trump ally.
‘I think an hour and a half or two hours of anybody every day is not going to be great for their political standing no matter who they are and what they do. The American people are shut in for the most part and they don’t need to see the same person every day for two hours. So I think the president can scale that back, still be a presence, communicating important things, but not having to be on for an hour and a half or two hours, ‘he said Monday morning on ABC’s’ Good Morning America.’
The push to show President Trump at work is an attempt by officials to restart after a tough week.
The president was decried for Thursday musings about injecting disinfectant to fight the coronavirus, angrily walked out of Friday’s press briefing without taking questions, and spent Sunday in twitter furor about his presidency is being portrayed.
Opening the 4 pm meeting to the press raises another risk: Trump going off script.
It’s a tendency that happens frequently in the president’s daily press briefings, where he takes questions for up to two hours on a variety of subjects and offers new ideas without any vetting.
Friday’s briefing – where Trump made a statement but answered no questions – had a different tone.
‘I think you saw a different briefing [Friday] where the president did take questions. We did not have a two-hour-long press conference that went off into different topics. And perhaps that’s indicating a different strategy. And I think maybe some of his advisers are suggesting that maybe a different communication policy might be more helpful, ‘Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Sunday on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation.’
Relations between the president and the press grew so tense the White House held no on camera briefings over the weekend after officials tried – and failed – to move a CNN reporter from her front row seat at Friday’s briefing to the back of the room.
But the best-laid plans can go off track with Trump, who calls his own shots.
Trump spent much of Sunday afternoon lobbying Twitter attacks – issuing more than 53 tweets and twitters that are targeted to the media, high-profile personalities and Democrats. All while Trump argued he is’ the hardest working President in history. ‘
‘ The people that know me and know the history of our country say that I am the hardest working president in history, ‘Trump tweeted Sunday afternoon. ‘I don’t know about that, but I am a hard worker and have probably gotten more done in the first 3 1/2 years than any President in history. The Fake News hates it! ‘
Only joking? Donald Trump’s defense against a tide of criticism for his bizarre outburst advocating injecting disinfectant and using UV light to treat coronavirus was unveiled in the Oval Office: to claim it was sarcastic. But then he went on to double down on his theories anyway
The president also went on a rant against reporters who received a ‘Noble prize’ for their reporting on the Russian investigations. Trump was likely referring to the Noble Prize and probably was referring to the Pulitzer – the highest honor in journalism, which was given to the White House reporting teams at the New York Times and the Washington Post for their work covering the Russia probes.
‘When will all of the’ reporters’ who have received Noble Prizes for their work on Russia, Russia, Russia, only to have been proven totally wrong (and, in fact, it was the other side who committed the crimes), be turning back their cherished ‘Nobles’ so that they can be given to the REAL REPORTERS & JOURNALISTS who got it right,’ Trump wrote.
‘I can give the Committee a very comprehensive list,’ he added. ‘When will the Noble Committee DEMAND the Prizes back, especially since they were gotten under fraud? The reporters and Lamestream Media knew the truth all along. ‘
‘Lawsuits should be brought against all, including the Fake News Organizations, to rectify this terrible injustice. For all of the great lawyers out there, do we have any takers? When will the Noble Committee Act? Better be fast! ‘ Trump wrote.
The president mistakenly mixed up Nobel prizes with Pulitzers and also misspelled Nobel in another series of tweets
Trump continued to target the New York Times for a story that suggested he was not doing much work
President Trump has once against blamed others for not understanding the concept of sarcasm after a flurry of tweets were sent by the president on Sunday afternoon
After several online commentators noted the errors in the tweets, they disappeared from Trump’s Twitter feed.
The president later wrote he was being sarcastic.
‘Does anybody get the meaning of what a so-called Noble (not Nobel) Prize is, especially as it pertains to Reportsers and Journalists? Noble is defined as, ‘having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals.’ Does sarcasm ever work? ‘ he tweeted.
Sarcasm was the defense Trump used when asked to explain comments he made at Thursday’s press briefing, where he suggested officials examine whether injecting disinfectant into a person could help fight the coronavirus.
‘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 almost a cleaning, because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it’d be interesting to check that, ‘he said.
The medical community was quick to point out the dangers of such advice and warned people not to follow it.
The next day Trump said he was being sarcastic.
‘I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen, ‘the president said.
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