U.S. President Donald Trump says he will resume White House coronavirus briefings as cases spike nationwide.
The president’s decision to again hold a daily briefing on the virus comes as his poll numbers have dropped and advisers have encouraged him to communicate more about his administration’s response to the pandemic.
“I think it’s a great way to get information out to the public,” Trump told reporters Monday in the Oval Office. He said the briefings would likely begin Tuesday and that he hoped to talk about medical progress to fight the pandemic, including vaccines and therapeutics.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the briefings will “give reassurance to the American people that we are in a place, where we see these cases rising as we increase testing, notably – but we are in a place where we are treating people in a better fashion because of the therapeutics developed under this president.”
It is not clear whether Trump will field questions at the briefings as he has in the past or if he will share the stage with others, including Vice President Mike Pence and health experts Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx.
Trump has recently criticized Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, saying in a Fox News interview that aired Sunday that Fauci is “a little bit of an alarmist.” However, he added, “I have a great relationship with him.”
Trump’s once near-daily briefings largely ended in late April. In one of the last appearances he made, Trump speculated about whether injecting disinfectants could help stop the virus, a comment that sparked strong criticism from public health experts.
Last week, senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway publicly urged the president to again hold the briefings.
“His approval rating on the pandemic was higher when he was at the podium,” Conway said Friday.
Trump’s approval ratings went up in the first months of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States but began to fall in April.
The decision to resume the White House briefings comes less than a week after Trump announced a campaign shakeup in which he replaced his campaign manager.