The White House on Friday struggled to explain to reporters why it suddenly stopped holding coronavirus briefings after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its latest masking guidance.
“Why are the doctors not here in the briefing to take our questions?” asked NBC reporter Kelly O’Donnell during the White House press briefing on Friday.
White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre defended not having a briefing with the federal health officials, noting President Joe Biden himself spoke to the American people about the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday.
“He gave a more than 30-minute speech,” Jean-Pierre argued, adding Biden was “a trusted voice” and “the leader of our country.”
“But he is not a scientist,” O’Donnell protested.
“No, but we heard from him,” Jean-Pierre replied.
Since President Joe Biden took office, he promised regular public briefings with federal health officials to talk about the ongoing battle against the coronavirus pandemic.
The briefings are typically led by White House COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] Response Coordinator Jeff Zients and feature Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci, and Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC.
But the briefings stopped after the CDC announced new masking guidelines on Tuesday, even for fully vaccinated Americans.
“Of all the weeks not to hold have a COVID briefing, why this week?” asked CBS reporter Weijia Jiang.
Jean-Pierre defended the White House’s handling of the situation, noting both Walensky and Fauci had appeared on cable news networks to detail their new guidance.
“They’ve been out there on your networks; they aren’t hiding,” she said.