President Donald Trump has a new daily ritual now that the pandemic has put the kibosh on the signature campaign rallies that helped him get elected four years ago: the coronavirus briefing.
Standing on the once-abandoned White House briefing room stage flanked by public health experts, Trump holds court with reporters and directly addresses the American people, providing updates on his administration’s efforts to combat the pandemic and trying to demonstrate that he’s in charge.
The rallies include the airing of grievances. That, combined with measured updates from public health officials is also seen in the rallies.
For the first few days of the crisis, the briefings were led by Vice President Mike Pence, who offered buttoned-up updates in a calming, paternal tone. Now, every day of the week, including Tuesday, Trump emerges from behind closed doors and reads a summary of his administration’s latest efforts.
Then he invites other administration officials to make remarks. Then he opens things up for questions, and the discussion can go in many directions.