Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway attempted to shift blame for surging coronavirus cases to the nation’s governors, claiming that Trump’s somber message and shift in tone was “not a change,” but instead, a reaction to some states that reopened too quickly.
“It’s not a change. The briefings stopped, but his work hasn’t stopped,” Conway said in response to a question from CNN.
Remember: Trump warned the coronavirus pandemic is likely to worsen before improving, during the first outing of his revived daily briefings on Tuesday. His tone was relatively sober and offered more realistic projections.
“I think what he added yesterday is him seeing that some of these states moved through our gated criteria, moved through some of our phases, and they opened up some of the industries a little too quickly like bars,” Conway said today of Trump's briefing.
Governors, she said, “wanted complete latitude” over reopening, but, Trump “also sees that if he provides information to the public as the President, he's also giving people guidance as to how to do our part to help flatten that curve and to help some of these cities.”
She pointed to Georgia as an example of where the President pushed back on reopening phases.
Amid criticism of the President’s Tuesday remarks that the administration is “developing a strategy,” she said, “We do have a strategy,” but suggested that Trump was talking specifically about vaccine development and therapeutics and sheltering vulnerable populations.
Conway said Trump was briefed on the testing matter by Dr. Deborah Birx and Jared Kushner and his team, but acknowledged, “We all think it’s gotta be better,” pointing to many Americans waiting days for results.
She was also asked about the lack of public health officials at yesterday’s briefing and noted that they are frequently on television or on Facebook or, in a nod to Dr. Anthony Fauci, “throwing pitches.”
Trump and Fauci, she said, “don’t have a piece of tissue paper between him,” before pivoting to criticize Joe Biden.