President Trump will hold a press conference in the Rose Garden Tuesday at 5 p.m., the White House announced, and a source familiar with the matter said the president will use the opportunity to discuss China during the event.
The press conference also comes as the president pushes forward with his campaign to reopen schools in the fall, while some states face a spike in coronavirus.
It wasn't immediately clear what the president might discuss regarding China. But the Trump administration has ramped up pressure on China for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Last week the U.S. officially withdrew from the World Health Organization after Republicans accused it of being beholden to China.
On Monday the administration rejected nearly all of China's claims in the South China Sea – wading into one of the most sensitive regional issues in Asia and further escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing.
“Today we are strengthening U.S. policy in a vital, contentious part of that region – the South China Sea,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a press release. “We are making clear: Beijing’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful, as is its campaign of bullying to control them.”
The news conference will also be the president’s first since he commuted the 40-month sentence of GOP operative and Trump confidant Roger Stone. Stone last year was convicted of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing the House investigation into whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election. Trump commuted his sentence just days before he was to report to prison, after saying he would wait to consider a pardon until Stone’s appeal had played out in courts.
In the early months of the pandemic, the president and the White House coronavirus task force held a press conference every day to give an update on the administration’s response.
Trump has vowed to “very much put pressure” on the nation’s governors to reopen schools come fall, even threatening to withhold funding for schools that announce plans to teach virtually. Last week, the president said he disagreed with the CDC’s “very tough and expensive” guidelines for reopening schools.
“I disagree with @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. “While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things.” He added that he was meeting with the CDC later that day.
A new coronavirus map shows that more than half of all states are “trending poorly” or have “uncontrolled spread.”
The map, created by covidexitstrategy.org, measures and scores each state based on the number of positive cases over a 14-day period using a seven-day rolling average, bed capacity at hospitals and intensive care units and positivity rates.
According to the map, only four states are trending for the better: New York, Massachusetts, Maine and New Jersey. Around 16 states, including Pennslyvania, Illinois and Washington, are in limbo with caution being warranted if the number of cases increases.
California is listed with an "uncontrolled spread" with 219 cases per every million people. The state has seen significant gains erased as infections continue to climb, forcing Gov. Gavin Newsom re-impose restrictions and business closures.
Texas, Florida and Georgia are also seeing giant upticks in COVID-19 cases. Texas and Florida engaged in some of the most aggressive reopenings among states and have since enacted restriction measures to combat the disease's spread.
Florida recorded a nearly 19 percent positivity rate, up from 15.6 percent two weeks ago.
As of Monday night, the U.S. reported more than 3.3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 135,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The map was created by a nonpartisan group with experts from the White House, U.S. Department of Health and Human Service and on the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
Fox Business' Blake Burman and Fox News' Andrew O'Reilly and Louis Casiano contributed to this report.