The White House went back and forth Monday on how to get out its Coronavirus response message, as a scheduled briefing by President Donald Trump and medical experts was canceled, only to be replaced by a news conference with the President at the exact same time.
The schedule changes came in the wake of the President's weekend complaints about taking questions from the press on the virus outbreak, which he said was a waste.
“Not worth the time & effort,” Mr. Trump tweeted over the weekend, as he blasted the news media on Twitter again on Monday morning.
So, it was no surprise that the White House then canceled a scheduled 5 pm ET task force briefing.
But a few hours later, that was replaced by a 5 pm news conference by the White House - in what may look to viewers like exactly the event which the President had been complaining about.
The back-and-forth came four days after the President stirred controversy by seemingly suggesting that the Coronavirus could be treated 'by injection inside' the body of household disinfectants, a move that prompted warnings and public rebukes by health officials nationwide.
President Trump blamed the press.
"There has never been, in the history of our Country, a more vicious or hostile Lamestream Media than there is right now, even in the midst of a National Emergency," the President wrote on Twitter Monday morning.
"FAKE NEWS, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE," Mr. Trump declared a few minutes later.
It wasn't immediately clear whether this was just a cancellation for Monday - or if it would become standard procedure to not have a briefing from the White House.
In the past during a health emergency - like the H1N1 Swine Flu in 2009 - briefings were handled by officials at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, and not by the White House.
On Friday, the President left the briefing room without taking any questions, the first time that had happened since the virus outbreak became the policy focus at the White House.
Mr. Trump has often used extensive question-and-answer sessions with reporters to vent his frustration about a lack of press stories praising his administration's response, and to jab relentlessly at a variety of reporters.
"I'm the President, and you're fake news," he said last Thursday to one reporter.
But while President Trump seems to enjoy the back-and-forth with reporters, polling does not indicate the President is enjoying a bump with voters related to his handling of the virus outbreak.
For example, in a new poll out in Ohio, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine enjoys very high approval ratings, with a favorable rating of 75 percent, to just a 12 percent unfavorable.
In the same poll, the same respondents in Ohio gave President Trump a 43 percent favorable rating, and a 48 percent unfavorable.