After toying with eliminating the White House coronavirus task force by the end of the month on Tuesday, President Donald Trump retreated on Wednesday saying he did not realize how popular the task force has become.
While two of the most prominent figures on the task force, Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, will continue serving on the task force, Trump said other members might be rotated off the task force.
"I thought we could wind it down sooner, but I had no idea how popular the task force is until actually yesterday,” Trump said on Wednesday. “When I started talking about winding it down, I'd get calls from very respected people saying 'I think it would be better to keep it going. It's done such a good job.'
Trump openly proposed eliminating the task force as thousands are expected to die for the virus in the coming weeks, according to analysis being provided to the federal government.
But the task force has seen a diminished front-facing role in recent weeks as Trump has scaled formal news conferences. News briefings featuring Birx and Fauci have practically been eliminating since Trump asked about injecting disinfectants as a way to kill the virus during a news briefing.
Fauci was requested to appear before the Democratic-led House Appropriations committee to provide an update on the virus. The White House blocked the House’s oversight request.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany stated that the House had not stated a reason why Fauci would be needed to appear before the committee.
Fauci will instead appear before the Republican-led Dr. Anthony Fauci is set to testify before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
On Wednesday, Trump reiterated a commitment to keep Birx and Fauci on as advisers.
“It's a respected task force,” Trump said. “It's--I knew it myself. I didn't know whether or not it was appreciated by the public, but it is appreciated by the public. I mean, you look at the job we've done on everything."
Justin Boggs is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @jjboggs or on Facebook .