President Donald Trump on Friday exited the White House coronavirus press briefing without taking any questions from reporters.
The president concluded the briefing after he and his team delivered opening statements, saying, “Thank you very much,” before turning and exiting the room. Reporters shouted questions as he walked away.
The president suffered a brutal 24 hours of news coverage after he asked whether disinfectant or ultraviolet light could be used in the body to fight the Wuhan coronavirus.
Prior to the briefing, reporters said that White House staff tried to change seating in the press briefing room, moving CNN to the back of the room and moving Washington Blade reporter Chris Johnson to the front.
“White House staff just came into the briefing room and informed the print pooler that they want them to swap seats w CNN,” Yahoo News media reporter Hunter Walker wrote on Twitter. “That would move CNN to the back row from the front.”
Reporters refused to move, even though the White House staffer threatened to have Secret Service enforce the seat change.
Pooler @chrisjohnson82 said he would not move unless he heard from the @whca. WH staffer threatened to have Secret Service enforce the swap. WHCA board members ran back into the press office to discuss
— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) April 24, 2020
The White House owns the space in the briefing room and can technically control the space, but traditionally, the White House Correspondents Association sets the seating arrangements arranged by an elected board of officials.
Axios’s Jonathan Swan reported Friday after the briefing that the president would start cutting back his appearances at the daily press briefing.