Donald Trump cancels coronavirus briefing saying they are 'not worth the effort'
26 April 2020, 09:48 | Updated: 26 April 2020, 13:40
US President Donald Trump cancelled Saturday's coronavirus briefing at the White House saying they are "not worth the time and effort".
The US leader complained that the media "asks nothing but hostile questions" and "refuses to report the truth or facts accurately" amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
It comes just days after he suggested injecting bleach as a treatment for Covid-19, a comment he later dismissed as "sarcasm".
The president has had a number of fractious clashes with reporters at the briefings, during which he has accused them of writing "fake news".
After more than a month of near-daily White House briefings, he took to Twitter to explain his absence.
He wrote: "What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately.
"They get record ratings, & the American people get nothing but Fake News. Not worth the time & effort!"
What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately. They get record ratings, & the American people get nothing but Fake News. Not worth the time & effort!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 25, 2020
He later said the mainstream media and the Democrats are both "hoaxes" that continue to "spread lies" about both the coronavirus and his presidency.
At Friday's briefing, a subdued Mr Trump took no questions from the media following an unusually short press conference that lasted just 22 minutes.
Others have lasted almost two hours.
The White House has reportedly expressed concern that Mr Trump's presence at the briefings could be damaging his approval ratings with a presidential election looming.
Thursday's press conference, during which he made the remarks about injecting bleach, even appeared to shock his close advisers, including Dr Deborah Brix of the Coronavirus Task Force.
Elsewhere, the president unveiled a plan to reopen America earlier this month, with the states of Georgia, Oklahoma and Alaska already beginning to loosen lockdown orders on businesses.
The confirmed US death toll from the coronavirus crisis has soared past 50,000, in what is the world's deadliest outbreak.
Health officials have warned that it could be too soon to lift the lockdown and that it risks sparking a second wave of infections.