President Donald Trump says his press briefings are “not worth the time and effort” as his administration prepares to adjust his public presence.
Tweeting on Saturday, one of the few days in which he has not held a daily briefing since the start of the outbreak, Mr Trump said: “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”.
The president’s tweet came two days after he used a briefing to muse about the injection of chemical disinfectants, drawing warnings from manufacturers and the nation’s top medical professionals.
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
The White House claimed that Mr Trump was misinterpreted, though the president later asserted he was speaking “sarcastically.”
For the first time, Mr Trump cut off his daily coronavirus task force briefing on Friday without taking any questions from reporters.
The briefings often stretch well beyond an hour and feature combative exchanges between Mr Trump and reporters.
The president was angry after a day of punishing headlines on Friday, largely about his comment at Thursday’s briefing wondering if it would be helpful to inject disinfectant into people to fight the coronavirus.
That idea drew loud warnings from health experts who said the idea was dangerous and sharp criticism from Democrats.
Mr Trump did answer questions from reporters earlier on Friday and claimed that his suggestion about disinfectant had been “sarcastic.”