WASHINGTON – White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said Friday President Donald Trump should resume his coronavirus press briefings, as polls show growing American disapproval of the president’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Conway said her opinion was different from that of other White House staff but told “Fox and Friends” Trump’s approval ratings were “much higher when he was out there briefing everybody on a day-by-day basis, just giving people the information.”
“I think the president should be doing that,” she said.
According to polling analysis site FiveThirtyEight’s average of polls, Trump’s approval rating on the coronavirus pandemic was 50.2%, with a disapproval rating of 45.8% when he held his last conference in the White House briefing room on April 27.
As of July 17, 58% of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of the pandemic and 38% approve, according to FiveThirtyEight’s average.
Asked why Trump stopped holding the briefings, Conway said “some people are encouraging him to stop.”
Trump often feuded with the press during the lengthy press conferences earlier in the pandemic and was widely criticized by health experts after making comments suggesting ultraviolet light and disinfectants might treat the coronavirus.
The Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic and recent protests over racial justice has drawn criticism even from some Republican members of Congress.
Recent polling shows most Americans do not trust coronavirus-related information from Trump and instead have more faith in statements from medical experts like National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday showed that only 30% of voters trusted information from Trump about the coronavirus, and 67% did not. By contrast, 65% of voters trusted Fauci and 61% trusted the CDC.
The results showed a split among party lines, though. Only 27% of independents and 4% of Democrats trusted Trump on the coronavirus, but 71% of Republicans did.
Kyle Kondik, a political analyst with the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, argued on Twitter former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign might benefit from a return to the briefings.
“We couldn’t agree more!” tweeted Biden spokesperson Mike Gwin in response to Conway’s comments.
Contributing: Michael Collins