President Donald Trump re-launched the White House COVID briefings this week — briefings that CNN opted to show in bits after famously deciding this spring to cut away from the president’s COVID updates, calling them “propaganda” at one time.
For many weeks, Vice President Mike Pence, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Deborah Birx, and other members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force would give nearly daily briefings on current research, policies, and recommendations on the pandemic. Sometimes even President Trump would make an appearance.
Then the briefings went away.
Trump restarted them this week, holding a few COVID pressers between Monday and Friday. The president struck what many considered a new tone — backing off his previous demand that all schools reopen this fall regardless of the prevalence of the virus in the local communities, urging all people to wear masks and touting masks’ effectiveness, and warning that things were going to get worse before they get better.
The president’s new style of briefings — just him, with no real supporting cast, and lots of sticking to the pro-mask position and softening on school openings — upset many conservatives.
But the president’s new briefings have at least one well-known fan, a man beloved by CNN and other liberal outlets that don’t care for the White House COVID updates: Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Fauci appeared on “Washington Post Live” with political reporter Robert Costa on Friday to discuss all things COVID when the discussion turned to Trump’s new COVID briefings.
Costa asked Fauci if the president’s briefings this week have been helpful or unhelpful.
Fauci noted that he was “pleased” with Trump’s new pressers.
“I think that what is good about this, Bob, that I’m pleased with is that the president has gone out there and is saying things now that I think important, having to do with wearing masks, staying away from crowded places,” Fauci said. “So I think that they have been helpful now.”
He also praised the format of the briefings, noting, “They’ve been short and crisp, which I think is good when you’re trying to get a message across.”
Fauci said that he has had good calls with the president and it’s not necessary for him to be part of Trump’s new briefings — not because of differences with the president but because it would take away from the updates.
“I’m not so sure [joining the president at the briefings] is necessary, because what happens when you do that people ask questions that have a little bit to do with health and it gets mixed up,” he said. “Whenever you’re at a briefing with the president, people start throwing questions in there that have nothing to do with the issue at hand. So I tend to like to see press briefings that are crisp and to the point.”
The doctor said he wants the briefings to continue and believes they are “important,” so, will CNN follow their leader and start airing the COVID briefings?
(Relavant portion begins at the 23-minute mark.)