The near-daily events, which routinely roll on for more than two hours, clocked in Friday at 22 minutes. While the president sometimes begins more than half an hour late, after pushing the 5 p.m. start back by a half hour, he only kept reporters waiting another nine minutes.
There was no touting of unproven remedies, no swipes at political foes; only prediction of a swift economic rebound, praise for governors who are rolling out plans to reopen their states and updates on his administration’s public health and economic response to the crisis that has killed more than 50,000 Americans.
Friday’s briefing also lacked the president’s sparring with reporters that have become a briefing trademark that Trump clearly relishes. Those extended Q&A’s with reporters have also produced some of his most troublesome off the cuff remarks.
The sudden about-face comes after a day when the White House took grief for Thursday’s briefing during which Trump asked his medical experts to look into the use of disinfectants and ultraviolet light on human coronavirus patients. His dangerous suggestion that patients could possibly ingest household disinfectants kicked off a day of conflicting explanations.
In the face of a nearly universal rebuke, the White House initially said that Trump’s comments had been taken out of context. At a coronavirus relief bill signing later in the day, the president told reporters he had meant the suggestion sarcastically to bait reporters. Trump made no mention of the controversy in his brief remarks Friday.