UPDATE April 27, 5:34pm: Since publication, McEnany announced that the President would hold a press briefing on Monday evening after all. The article has been updated to reflect this development.
It took a global pandemic and a national health crisis, but after more than a year without a daily White House press briefing, President Donald Trump's virus task force began holding daily updates to keep Americans informed on the expert-recommended precautions and the progress at slowing the spread.
Any information presented in these briefings, however, has often been obscured by the President's typical response to scrutiny: angry defensive diatribes and outright lies.
In a Thursday press briefing, Trump floated the idea of injecting disinfectant as a potential cure for the virus, citing the effectiveness of bleach and isopropyl alcohol at removing the virus from shared surfaces like kitchen counters and doorknobs.
The idea sparked immediate backlash and the following day, Trump didn't take any questions from the media, nor did he hold a press briefing on Saturday or Sunday—the first time he'd skipped a briefing since Easter.
In a Saturday tweet, Trump said that press briefings weren't "worth the time and effort."
What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile quest… https://t.co/CVJ95J12UR— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1587852101.0
The tweet signaled a potential withdrawal from the briefings, but in a Monday morning appearance on Fox News, Trump's latest Press Secretary—Kayleigh McEnany—insisted this was not the case.
White House press secretary insists Trump hasn't cut back on coronavirus briefings youtu.be
When asked by Fox News host Ed Henry on whether or not the President was pulling back on briefings, McEnany responded:
"No, the briefings were a great opportunity for the President to speak directly to the American people. It's why millions and millions tune in to the President's briefings to watch what he has to say. They recognize leadership ... Today we're not tracking a briefing. There will be a press avail later this afternoon for CEOs that the President's meeting with...but these briefings are excellent."
Fox News host Sandra Smith jumped in to ask McEnany to clarify whether or not the administration would be cutting back on briefings.
"Absolutely not an effort to cut back, but an effort to showcase the American people, the great entrepreneurship of this President."
She went on to assure that the media would be able to ask questions at an afternoon meeting between Trump and retail CEOs, claiming that the new model was an effort to showcase the American people.
"We will have briefings this week," she continued, "But again the media needs to not read into what's happening and look at this as an opportunity for the President to speak to the American people via the CEO meeting and later in the week during briefings as well."
Her answer still wasn't clear, and Smith asked if it was a confirmation that the task force briefings would continue for the rest of the week, asking if Trump would be present.
"Absolutely the President will be present. I'm not going to get ahead of what the briefings will look like this week. They may have a different look. I'm not gonna get ahead of those announcements, but make no mistake, the President will be briefing the American people this week. Millions and millions tune in to watch him and see his leadership."
People were skeptical of McEnany's assurances.
The administration is once again trying to rewrite history... this time as it's happening and being witnessed. https://t.co/sZDl4kslT6— Diana Nelson (@Diana Nelson)1588001185.0
McEnany has quickly established her irrelevance by repeating the lies of 'The Big Orange One,' just as her failed p… https://t.co/0xcZ2ywYB5— stephen greene (@stephen greene)1587999983.0
@TeaPainUSA Aren’t they dizzy doing all this spinning?? 🤨— traveladdict (@traveladdict)1587999465.0
@TeaPainUSA They are gaslighting reality constantly. Tiring as it is, they have nothing else. Perhaps because of th… https://t.co/skBGq7Na2H— stefa (@stefa)1588000047.0
@TeaPainUSA Yep, nothing like being told that what we all hear and see isnt really what we all hear and see. Gener… https://t.co/0GO3QIL80z— Al Prior (@Al Prior)1587999567.0
Her claims that the American people tuned in for Trump's leadership were mocked by many.
@TeaPainUSA Recognize leadership? We watch to see what stupidity *45 is going to come up with. Wish we could watch… https://t.co/9UhpMtnLGB— Avery, butcallmeinstagator (@Avery, butcallmeinstagator)1588004210.0
@TeaPainUSA “That’s why millions and millions tune in to the president’s briefings to watch what he has to say. The… https://t.co/gQwNlCuWEU— D Villella ❄️ (@D Villella ❄️)1588002096.0
@TeaPainUSA "They recognize leadership"? Wow.....unbelievable— Brawney (@Brawney)1587999600.0
Update: Hours after McEnany's Fox interview, the press secretary announced that the President would hold a press briefing on Monday evening after all.
UPDATE: The White House has additional testing guidance and other announcements about safely opening up America aga… https://t.co/Mmfx1e9iv1— Kayleigh McEnany (@Kayleigh McEnany)1588007773.0
For a deeper look into the inner workings of the Trump administration, check out A Very Stable Genius, available here.