He’s Baaack: Trump Announces Reboot Of ‘Very Successful’ WH Coronavirus Briefings

President Donald Trump speaks at the White House on July 20, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
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July 20, 2020 12:54 p.m.
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President Trump is rebooting his reality tv-style coronavirus briefings, months after backing away from them and as COVID-19 cases spike across the country.

Trump announced on Monday morning that he is bringing back the White House briefings, which came to a halt after he suggested during one in April that people infected with COVID-19 should take an “injection” of disinfectant to recover from the virus. Since then, Trump has repeatedly downplayed the coronavirus and complained that increased testing is to blame for spiking cases (it’s not).

Speaking to reporters during a pool spray at the White House Monday, Trump spoke of the briefings like a seasoned television producer. Trump claimed the briefings, which were held nearly every day for weeks at the beginning of the pandemic, were “very successful” and garnered record ratings.

“There’s never been anything like it,” Trump said. “And we were doing very well and I thought it would be sort of automatic and a lot of positive things were happening.”

The President went on to outline his plan for the briefings.

“So I think what we’re going to do is I’ll get involved and we’ll start doing briefings whether it’s this afternoon or tomorrow — probably tomorrow,” Trump said. “And I’ll do briefings. And I think part of the briefing much more so than last time because last time we were nowhere with vaccines and therapeutics. And let’s say that ended six weeks ago and we’ll start them again.”

During the first season of Trump’s briefings, the President often went on bizarre and unrelated tangents. He also often used the briefings to attack the assembled journalists in the room. At one briefing, Trump almost completely ignored the coronavirus threat and instead detailed his administration’s operations to go after MS-13. Cable news networks often cut away from the briefings altogether, in search of actual news on the pandemic.

Trump added Monday that the new briefings will be “a great way to get information out to the public” when it comes to the status of vaccines, therapeutics and “generally speaking where we are” on the COVID-19 outbreak.

The President reiterated the briefing will start “probably tomorrow” during the “good slot” of 5 p.m. and predicted that a lot of people will tune in. Trump said that White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany will continue her briefings separately, but that his briefings will discuss the coronavirus and “perhaps some other things.”

Watch Trump’s remarks below:

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

TPM’s COVID-19 hub.
Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.
COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world).
Worldometers.info (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).
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