President Trump holds press conference on coronavirus

Watch live coverage of President Trump holding a press conference on coronavirus.

Posted: Feb 26, 2020 3:10 PM
Updated: Feb 26, 2020 3:12 PM

White House officials have privately weighed appointing a czar to oversee the administration's response to the growing novel coronavirus outbreak, despite public denials by members of the administration, sources inside the administration and advisers close to the White House say.

President Donald Trump has also privately expressed frustration with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who has taken the lead on coordinating the response so far, and is blaming him for not keeping him updated enough.

Azar told members of Congress on Wednesday that he has been in constant contact with the President and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. But behind closed doors, the President has blamed Azar for not keeping him updated and allowing him to weigh in on crucial decisions.

Trump has also weighed selecting another point person as alarm about the outbreak is on the rise, though he has not followed through on it yet.

Trump is scheduled to hold a 6:30 p.m. ET news conference at the White House regarding the coronavirus.

The President has been particularly irked that he's finding out about decisions after people complain to him about them.

One notable instance was the decision to bring the Americans home from a cruise and potentially housing some patients at a FEMA facility in Alabama. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, and representatives from the state objected to the plan directly to Trump.

Lawmakers have also called on Trump to appoint someone to oversee the response, which came up during a clash over the administration's request for more coronavirus funding. Some White House officials accused HHS of requesting disproportionate amounts of money to cover up what one official described as Azar's "mismanagement."

Deputy press secretary Judd Deere denied reports about adding a czar.

"This is not true! The President took decisive action by creating the Coronavirus Virus Task Force a month ago and is pleased with the leadership of @SecAzar to protect the public health," Deere tweeted Wednesday.

After the market tumbled early this week, Trump also questioned whether Azar is up to the challenge of handling the crisis.

While testifying before Congress, Azar insisted a czar wasn't necessary despite how the Obama administration appointed Ron Klain to oversee the Ebola virus response.

"It's just the longstanding doctrine that this should be led by HHS with a public health emergency," he told lawmakers. "The oddity was actually what President Obama did with the Ebola response."

The President and other officials have also directed their anger at Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official who has been a public face of the coronavirus response, for what officials claim is overly fatalistic messaging.

"We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare, in the expectation that this could be bad," she said at a news briefing this week. "It's not so much of a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen."

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 779491

Reported Deaths: 14893
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2585166330
Riverside566811153
San Bernardino51750858
Orange516461123
San Diego44007757
Kern31148340
Fresno27487355
Sacramento21171375
Alameda20364370
Santa Clara20129295
San Joaquin19793414
Stanislaus16229329
Contra Costa15640198
Tulare15517256
Ventura12167142
Imperial11534312
San Francisco1064096
Monterey933765
San Mateo9332142
Santa Barbara8803109
Merced8719133
Kings715877
Sonoma6987114
Marin6522112
Solano608555
Madera429658
Placer340741
San Luis Obispo333227
Yolo273253
Butte272033
Santa Cruz21758
Sutter163110
Napa159213
San Benito127211
Yuba11127
El Dorado10584
Mendocino82218
Lassen7310
Shasta66814
Glenn5483
Nevada5035
Colusa5026
Tehama4874
Humboldt4826
Lake43310
Calaveras30513
Amador28616
Tuolumne2204
Inyo18714
Mono1632
Siskiyou1600
Del Norte1351
Mariposa752
Plumas490
Modoc230
Trinity150
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Chico
Few Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 68°
Oroville
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 65°
Paradise
Few Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 68°
Chester
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 44°
Red Bluff
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 74°
Willows
Few Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 68°
Most of the forecast will remain pleasant and seasonable with big changes possible by next weekend.
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