© Reuters. The White House meeting room is dark and empty after the coronavirus task force did not hold a meeting in Washington for the second day in a row
By Steve Holland and Doina Chiacu
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump's pause in coronavirus briefings at the White House only lasted the weekend when he was the center of attention in the Rose Garden on Monday for an extension he described as a significant extension to virus testing to advertise.
Trump's advisors have argued that the sessions, which have been held almost daily for more than a month, made him appear in an unfavorable light, especially after Thursday when he asked his health experts if disinfectants that kill the virus on surfaces could be used Patients as treatment.
Some Republicans fear that Trump will do more harm than good to his re-election prospects, as appearances often turn into speeches against reporters, and have seen his approval ratings drop at a time when they should gain momentum.
The White House announced Monday morning that the day's briefing had been canceled just to reverse the course hours later and re-enter Trump's schedule.
According to Aides, Trump wanted to talk about new guidelines for corona virus testing as the government tries to meet a demand demanded by governors and business leaders as states reopen their economies.
Trump fought against the democratic allegations that he hadn't done enough to extend the tests, and brought on stage executives from large retailers who had tests carried out on their properties, as well as heads of companies that test equipment.
"We continue to expand our capacities quickly and are confident that we have enough tests to begin the reopening and reopening process. We want to open our country and the tests will not be a problem at all," Trump said.
Senior government officials said the federal government is sending enough swabs and associated equipment to all 50 states to meet all of its testing goals for May and June.
This will allow screening of at least 2% of the population, officials said.
"We'll be doing a lot more tests cumulatively in May and June than before," said one official on condition of anonymity. Around 5.4 million tests have been carried out to date.
"The hope is that by autumn we'll have so many tests that we'll be swimming in tests," said the official.
Trump's advisors inside and outside the White House have asked him to reduce his attendance at the coronavirus press conferences, arguing that this would lead him to have more command by appearing in less.
White House officials said future briefings would shift more towards economic reopening.
The Republicans increasingly see economic recovery from June on as crucial to improving Trump's re-election prospects in November.
White House spokesman Kayleigh McEnany told reporters that the briefings could have a new look and focus.
"But I wouldn't read anything that says we see them as negative because we think they were a very positive and helpful opportunity for the President to speak to the American people," she told the white man House.
Health experts attended the briefings, which can often take up to two hours, to learn about the federal government's efforts to fight the outbreak that killed more than 56,000 people in the United States.
They have also become a platform for Trump to develop his own theories about the corona virus and possible remedies, or to attack his political enemies.
On Thursday, he considered the possible use of disinfectants to treat COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
An international choir of doctors, health experts and manufacturers of the products asked people not to drink or inject disinfectants.