Trump was angry after a day of punishing headlines on Friday, largely about his comment at the previous evening's briefing where he wondered if it would be helpful to inject disinfectant into people to fight the coronavirus.
That idea drew loud warnings from health experts — who said it was dangerous — and sharp criticism from Democrats.
Trump did answer questions from reporters earlier on Friday and claimed that his suggestion about disinfectant had been sarcastic." That doesn't square with a transcript of his remarks.
For weeks, advisors have been urging the President to scale back his appearances at the briefings, saying that he should come before the cameras only when there is major news or a positive development to discuss, according to the officials. Otherwise, they suggested, he should leave it to Vice-President Mike Pence and health officials to take the lead.
Trump has been reluctant to cede the spotlight at the briefings, which are the closest thing he currently has to his political rallies.
He has talked up their robust television ratings and his ability to dominate the news cycle and drown out his likely general election opponent, Democrat Joe Biden. But advisers have argued that while the briefings may appeal to his most loyal base of supporters, they could be alienating some viewers, including senior citizens worried about their health.
Officials at Trump's reelection campaign have also noted a slip in Trump's support in some battleground states and have expressed concerns that the briefings, which often contain inaccurate information, may be playing a role.
Trump, who is known for changing his mind, has not committed to any permanent change in the briefing format, the officials said. It was unclear if Trump's decision not to take questions on Friday was connected to a kerfuffle in the briefing room moments before the task force presentation began.
A White House official had asked that two reporters switch seats, which would have sent the CNN correspondent farther back in the room. CNN is a frequent target of Trump's criticism. The reporters declined to move