Just hours ahead of President Donald Trump's first virus task force briefing in weeks, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany took questions at the podium.
The Press Secretary addressed the task force briefing and heaped praise upon the President for what she said was an admirable job at relaying information regarding the pandemic that's killed over 140 thousand Americans.
.@PressSec Kayleigh McEnany: "The president is the right person to give information to the American people...and bo… https://t.co/s6n91B4KUk— CSPAN (@CSPAN) 1595347884.0
After crediting the President with medical advancements, McEnany said:
"He is the right person to give information to the American people and boy does he get the information to a lot of the American people during his briefings as noted by the ratings as he himself pointed out."
The President's virus task force briefings did generate high ratings, but not due to a high level of trust in the President. Many tuned in to hear from medical experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, and others tuned in just to see what the President would say.
Some of his most alarming moments—like musing about the effectiveness of injecting people with bleach to kill the virus—came out of these briefings.
Many Twitter users pointed out the times Trump didn't convey accurate information.
@cspan @PressSec Oh yeah definitely the right person to get out that info based on his previous gems: 1) The virus… https://t.co/lzS6vFqonB— Teachers don't have to agree w/ your dumb ideas (@Teachers don't have to agree w/ your dumb ideas) 1595348130.0
@cspan @PressSec Sure, trust the politician who lies with every other sentence and suggested injecting bleach. He’s… https://t.co/INDFRzrXtR— Brown Coat (@Brown Coat) 1595349038.0
@cspan @PressSec Because of him we have over 140k DEAD! She’s a great side stepper.— Kim Mason (@Kim Mason) 1595349208.0
@cspan @PressSec Bleach injections, light shining up his arse, incorrect and dangerous medication advice. He sure gave all the best infos— JonLWright (@JonLWright) 1595352724.0
People didn't hesitate to point out to McEnany that ratings don't guarantee trust.
@cspan @PressSec Most people watch to see the train wreck— Sean Kemp (@Sean Kemp) 1595351708.0
@cspan @PressSec They watch because he had Dr Fauci.— sissy goodrum (@sissy goodrum) 1595349667.0
@cspan @PressSec They tune in to hear how many lies going to tell 🙄🤷🏾♀️— Melisa Smith (@Melisa Smith) 1595350161.0
@cspan @PressSec Disaster movies have very high ratings too 🤦— Lee Stapleton (@Lee Stapleton) 1595353924.0
The President has praised himself for the ratings generated by the briefings, but data showed that the public doesn't have faith in his ability to relay accurate information. According to a FiveThirtyEight report from just a week after Trump boasted about his ratings, more than half of Americans only trusted Trump a little bit or not at all when it came to disseminating information about the virus.
That trend has largely held and—according to some polls—has only grown worse. A Washington Post poll released this past Friday found that two-thirds of Americans found Trump to be an unreliable source of information regarding the pandemic. A New York Times poll found a similar result.
People were alarmed with the administration's emphasis on television ratings as a gauge of legitimacy and stability.
@cspan @PressSec This isn't the Apprentice, ratings don't matter, actions to save lives does. He has not taken any of those.— Kathleen (@Kathleen) 1595347989.0
@cspan @PressSec Ratings. And that's important?— BJ (@BJ) 1595349330.0
@cspan @PressSec The Presidency is not a reality show. The ratings don't matter. What Trump says and what he does… https://t.co/Y3ypmSmlxP— UncleSalty (@UncleSalty) 1595348539.0
@cspan @PressSec Ratings > human lives. Attention is the only purpose for this because he can’t do his little rallies.— TFM (@TFM) 1595348883.0
The President featured no medical experts at his Tuesday afternoon briefing.