President Trump plans to pare back his coronavirus press conferences, according to four sources familiar with the internal deliberations.
- He may stop appearing daily and make shorter appearances when he does, the sources said — a practice that may have started with Friday's unusually short briefing.
Why this matters: Trump's daily press conferences — televised to a largely homebound population — have dominated the public discourse about the coronavirus.
Behind the scenes: A number of Trump's most trusted advisers — both inside and outside the White House — have urged him to stop doing marathon televised briefings.
- They've told him he's overexposed and these appearances are part of the reason polls aren't looking good for him right now against Joe Biden.
- "I told him it's not helping him," said one adviser to the president. "Seniors are scared. And the spectacle of him fighting with the press isn't what people want to see."
But Trump has defended the practice, telling critics that the briefings get good ratings.
- One source cautioned that decisions like this one are never final until they're final.
- A senior administration official involved in the discussions said: "He should keep everyone guessing as to whether he appears day by day. And leave the technical briefings to others. Be there to announce victories."
Another source close to the deliberations said there simply isn't enough new material to justify Trump appearing before the press every day. "I mean, you wonder how we got to the point where you're talking about injecting disinfectant?" the source wondered aloud.
- These conversations were underway before Trump suggested that researchers investigate whether doctors could cure coronavirus by injecting people with disinfectant. But a source said it finally seems to have dawned on Trump, after this incident, that these briefings aren't helping him. The CDC and other public health officials responded obliquely to the comment by telling people not to drink bleach.