Published July 21, 2020
President Trump announced Monday that he will resume daily coronavirus news briefings starting Tuesday. For his sake and, more importantly, the country’s, they had better be substantially different from the last set.
Trump’s daily briefings in April were widely recognized as a public relations disaster. His regular baiting of the media meant the events had more to do with his walking offstage or arguing with someone rather than what the government was doing to combat the virus. His off-the-cuff medical thoughts on matters such as the use of hydroxychloroquine or an injection of bleach as treatment for the disease depicted a leader who was far out of his depth. There’s a reason Trump’s staff urged him to cancel the daily headaches.
They’re resuming now for two reasons: The virus has resurged, and Trump’s job approval rating has dropped even further. As is so often the case in politics, the interests of the nation and the president coincide, and so now he must try to show the nation and the world that the United States can get the virus under control. Trump can only do that, however, if this series reboot is much different from the last go-round.
Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.