President Trump deserves “high marks” for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic but he should spend less of his time at the head of White House press briefings, former White House chief of staff Andy Card said during an appearance on “Cavuto: Coast to Coast” on Friday.
The pandemic response is just one of several pressing tasks facing Trump on any given day, Card, who served as chief of staff to former President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2006, said. Trump has been a fixture at daily White House task force briefings even as his administration leads relief efforts, attempts to bolster the faltering U.S. economy and manages international diplomacy.
“I give him high marks for giving attention. When he stands up, he’s got phenomenal stamina to take the questions he takes every day,” Card told FOX Business Network anchor Neil Cavuto. “I do have a little bit of concern that he’s maybe not paying attention to some of the other responsibilities that the president has, which he also has to meet. But generally, I give him high marks for how he is addressing the current situation.”
Card advised Trump to “seek the counsel of governors,” regardless of state size or political affiliation, to determine how his administration can best aid coronavirus response efforts. Discussions about how to disperse key medical equipment should include input from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and be consistent with existing stockpiles.
A Trump-backed $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package helped to stabilized U.S. markets after historic declines in March.
“Generally, I’d say, he’s trying the best that he can to deal with a very challenging situation,” Card added. “I want everyone to put their politics aside. Let’s fix this and then we’ll have our political debate later on.”
Trump’s handling of the daily press briefings has been a source of frequent criticism. A Wall Street Journal editorial this week argued the sessions “have become less about defeating the virus and more about the many feuds of Donald J. Trump,” with top medical experts relegated to supporting roles in dealing with the media.
The column drew a sharp rebuke from Trump, who said the Wall Street Journal is “fake news” and had ignored the strong television ratings at his briefings.
Card said he agreed with the Wall Street Journal’s stance, if only because the president has limited time each with which to handle key issues.
“I do tend to think that he spent a little too much time in front of a camera taking questions from the press. The most valuable commodity, that is rare, is time,” Card said. “The president doesn’t have a lot of time to deal with all of the problems that he has to deal with. I think that he should be more judicious in how he uses all his time. I love seeing him out there, it shows that he’s engaged, but there are other challenges that the president has to be meeting as well.”