The White House abruptly canceled and then resumed the coronavirus media briefing on Monday after President Donald Trump made fun of his proposal to inject disinfectant patients and raged against "hostile" journalists.
The afternoon press conferences, which started to inform the Americans about developments in the crisis, but which finally took on the belligerent tone of Trump's campaign events, have been an integral part since March.
A free-running Trump got into a PR disaster on Thursday when he suggested that people could inject disinfectants to fight the virus, causing a flood of contempt, alarm and criticism worldwide.
The next day, an angry Trump left the briefing without asking questions. There was no briefing at the weekend.
And on Monday, the White House first planned a briefing, then canceled it – and then put it back on the agenda.
Trump's new spokesman, Kayleigh McEnany, said the topic was "additional testing instructions and other announcements to help America open up safely."
After the turmoil, White House strategic communications director Alyssa Farah intervened with a carefree excavation.
"We like to keep reporters busy," she tweeted, adding a winking emoji.
Sarcasm of the President
There was no such humor from the Oval Office – except possibly for the sarcastic kind.
Trump was outraged by unflattering newspaper reports about his work habits and using the sometimes two-hour briefings to praise himself and beat rivals.
After commenting on the disinfectant, he tried to control the damage by claiming it was sarcasm directed against journalists during the press conference, although he clearly spoke directly to his medical advisers, not the journalists, and in there was no sarcasm in his voice.
At the weekend, he also used sarcasm defense to explain a bizarre tweet telling journalists he believed to be treating him unfairly to return their "Nobel Prizes".
When the Twitter verse highlighted why Trump misspelled the Nobel Prize, which is not even awarded to journalists, and whether he really meant the Pulitzer Prize, the President complained:
"Does sarcasm ever work?"
On Monday, Trump maintained an anti-media tweet storm and wrote: "FAKE NEWS, THE ENEMY OF PEOPLE!"
"In our country's history, there has never been a more malicious or hostile Lamestream medium than now, even in the midst of a national emergency, the invisible enemy!" Trump also wrote.
Briefings in a new look?
Another tweet on Saturday sparked rumors that Trump would completely close the briefings.
"What is the purpose of White House press conferences when the Lamestream media only ask hostile questions and then refuse to report the truth or the facts," Trump wrote, adding that he often received "record ratings".
The incumbent Republican, whose re-election campaign depends on economic closure in response to the Corona virus threat, is under tremendous pressure to demonstrate his leadership role.
McEnany said a new strategy would be introduced that would highlight Trump's business background and focus on reopening the U.S. economy.
"We are looking for different ways to present this leading president," she told Fox News.
McEnany proposed a move "to demonstrate the great entrepreneurship of this president to the American people."
"I'm not going to anticipate what the briefings will look like this week. They may look different," she said.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)