After a short absence, President Donald Trump says that his White House coronavirus press briefings will be returning, though they won’t be done daily as they were before.
Trump chatted with the New York Post in the Oval Office on Monday, where he talked about the number of people who tuned into his televised press conferences, calling it the highest-rated hour on cable television in history.
“We set every record with those press conferences. Six million people all the time. You know we had tremendous numbers, literally, it was in [Fox News host] Bret Baier’s slot, and we did like 30 in a row,” Trump said.
“I heard, is this true? It was the highest-rated hour in cable television history. That’s what I heard. I don’t know if that’s true.”
Trump said that part of what made the press conferences so popular, according to the Post, were the instances where he engaged in heated exchanges with members of the press. He said that he was warned some of his followers didn’t like the competitive nature of his conversations with the press, but he believes that they asked repetitive questions and getting into controversial exchanges was more interesting from a viewer perspective.
“A lot of people love when the press hits me, you know, when I go at it with the press — they like it,” Trump said.
“I have a feeling everybody likes it because, you know, it’s more exciting than sitting there falling asleep,” he added.
The president explained that he didn’t end the press conferences indefinitely. Instead, they’ll return to televising them once again, but the events will probably be done once or twice a week. He also said that his new press secretary Kayleigh McEnany will be hosting them.
Trump said that the press conferences were necessary because “it’s the way that you get around fake news,” adding once again that the number of viewers tuning in is impressive, in his opinion.
The White House coronavirus press conferences faded out after Trump made a series of comments musing about whether or not it was possible for people to take UV light, bleach, or isopropyl alcohol internally in order to combat the coronavirus.
During a televised question and answer session with the press, he mused that perhaps disinfectants could be injected into the body, though he later backed away from the idea. After facing intense backlash from people on both sides of the aisle, he claimed that the comments were meant to be sarcastic.
Since then, he hasn’t been holding the daily press conferences, opting to do a town hall on Sunday instead.