President Donald Trump announced two major pandemic-related reversals this week leaving some media figures speechless.
Not only did he confirm daily White House coronavirus task force briefings would make their return after a months-long hiatus, but he appeared to embrace a change of opinion on the efficacy of face masks in preventing the virus’s spread.
“Record numbers watching”
In the wake media backlash over his musings during one April briefing, Trump tweeted that the daily events were no longer “worth the time & effort.”
Over the ensuing weeks, however, cases of the virus have spiked in many U.S. states and the president has seen his poll numbers drop significantly.
While Trump has continued to provide updates, he said on Monday that the daily briefings would be returning and cited their high ratings as a motivating factor.
“I was doing them and we had a lot of people watching, record numbers watching,” he said.
The return of these briefings will once again put Trump directly in front of the American people as he provides his administration’s response to the ongoing public health crisis and related issues, including his push to reopen schools this fall.
“Patriotic to wear a mask”
As for his evolving position on wearing face masks in public, the president has long held that it should be considered a personal choice and has largely declined to wear one himself.
Following a recent visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C., earlier this month during which he did have his face covered, however, he expressed a more supportive stance.
He shared an image of himself wearing a mask in a tweet on Monday, asserting that “many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance.”
As even many prominent Republicans have begun stressing the importance of wearing face masks, the issue has remained at the forefront of ongoing criticism aimed at the president.
With his newfound endorsement of the safety measure and the return of daily task force briefings, it is clear that the White House is poised to regain the upper hand against COVID-19 and the president’s political rivals.