August 1, 2021

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Trump holds a coronavirus briefing for the first time in months


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President Donald Trump is holding a coronavirus press briefing Tuesday for the first time in months, as a recent spike in Covid-19 cases spurs many state leaders to halt or reverse their reopening plans.

Trump announced the return of the briefings a day earlier, after acknowledging that the U.S. has “had this big flare-up in Florida, Texas, a couple of other places.” But the White House said Trump, who faces a tough reelection fight in less than four months, plans to use the briefings to deliver “good news” about his administration’s progress combating the pandemic.

It was unclear ahead of the briefing if any of the administration’s public health experts on the Covid-19 task force, such as coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx or Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, would appear alongside Trump. The White House declined to comment on CNBC’s request for a list of attendees. When asked at a general press briefing earlier Tuesday about participation, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said, “You’ll have to tune in to see.”

Trump regularly participated in the White House coronavirus task force’s briefings when they were being held on a near-daily basis earlier this year.

While crucial information about the virus was delivered in those briefings by task force members, the press events came to be defined by Trump’s freewheeling and often bombastic exchanges with reporters.

In late April, the briefings came to an abrupt end, shortly after Trump speculated from the press room lectern about whether injecting disinfectants can help to treat Covid-19. A day later, the president claimed he was “asking a question sarcastically.”

The task force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, held a public briefing in June. Trump was not present at that briefing.

McEnany told Fox News on Tuesday morning that the revived briefings would be “short,” and said that viewers would hear about “other topics” in addition to the coronavirus.

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