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The White House is having discussions about “changing the look” of the marathon daily coronavirus briefings, including possibly paring back the length of the pressers and presenting the information in different ways, sources tell Fox News.
Aides have also suggested staff find different venues for President Trump to appear and talk about federal efforts in responding to the pandemic. Axios was first to report Friday that the president may stop appearing at the daily press conferences.
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The news came Friday after the president held an uncharacteristically short press conference, lasting less than 25 minutes, and abruptly ending it without taking any questions.
It also followed a day’s worth of coverage about the president’s comments at the briefing a day earlier suggesting that disinfectants might have the potential to treat the coronavirus. This provoked the makers of Lysol to warn against improper use of disinfectant products, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency warning Americans not to “ingest disinfectant products.”
Trump, earlier on Friday, insisted he was being “sarcastic” when he made those comments.
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“I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you,” Trump told a journalist during a bill signing. “Disinfectant for doing this, maybe on the hands, would work. I was asking … when they use disinfectant it goes away in less than a minute.”
Neither Drs. Anthony Fauci nor Deborah Birx, two coronavirus taskforce members and regular attendees of the press conference, were in attendance at the briefing on Friday.
And there were reports of drama between the White House and some of the journalists before Friday’s briefing began: According to reporters in the room, White House staff tried to make a CNN reporter move from the front row to the back row by switching seats with a print reporter, but the correspondent refused.
John Roberts currently serves as the chief White House correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC). He joined the network as a senior national correspondent in January 2011, based in the Atlanta bureau.