Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, President Donald Trump has been holding daily press conferences. Meant to update the public on what the federal government is doing to tackle the pandemic, the briefings often featured sparring with reporters and discussions irrelevant to the virus.
According to a new report from Axios, some White House insiders close to Trump believe the briefings undermined his chances of re-election. The officials reportedly believe that it was the White House briefings that caused a considerable drop in support among seniors, many of whom now appear to be more comfortable with former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party's presumptive presidential nominee.
On Saturday, Trump canceled the briefing, suggesting that he has changed his mind about speaking with the media on a daily basis. A source close to Trump told Axios that the president appears to have realized that the conferences are doing more harm than good. "For the first time, I feel like he gets it that these aren't helping him," the individual said.
Some White House insiders reportedly believe that the president's opinion will change. According to them, Trump is still convinced that the conferences are helping him, which is why he often points to record-breaking ratings. Another individual familiar with the matter suggested that Trump is running out of things to discuss at the marathon briefings. "I mean, you wonder how we got to the point where you're talking about injecting disinfectant," they said.According to White House officials familiar with internal deliberations, the president and his team are looking to change strategy ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Trump and his allies, the officials claim, want the country to focus on "success stories" and the economy, instead of focusing on COVID-19.
According to an insider, the coronavirus task force will not be disbanded, but it will "take a back seat to the forward-looking, 'what's next message." Coronavirus Response Coordinator Deborah Birx and Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci will stay on the sidelines.
Trump and his allies will reportedly highlight efforts by governors who are reopening their economies and focus on delivering a more positive message. "Expect to see a pivot from the White House in the days ahead, focusing on the economy and a more hopeful, forward-looking message," an official said.
GOP insiders allegedly share White House officials' concerns. Per reports, some Republicans are growing increasingly concerned about Trump's chances of re-election, and fear that the Democratic Party has a good chance of winning back the Senate.