President Donald Trump’s top aides are divided over the merits of resuming national news briefings to keep the public informed about the latest coronavirus statistics as infection rates spike in large states including California, Texas, Florida, Arizona and Georgia.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, senior adviser Jared Kushner, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and counselor to the president Hope Hicks are among the aides arguing against these regular sessions because they want to keep the White House focused on the path forward and the nascent economic recovery — without scaring too much of the country about a virus resurgence when infections are rising at different paces in different regions.
Other senior aides, as well as Vice President Mike Pence and his team, believe keeping Americans up to date about the nature of the outbreak is critical as the death toll rises. More than 126,000 people have perished in the U.S. because of the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the government’s own experts are warning of serious trouble ahead…
“Cutting back on the briefings left a void that was filled by the media and the president’s political opponents in order to mislead people, and it resulted on the administration being put on the defensive,” a second senior administration official said.