After cancelling his trip to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday, President Donald Trump reversed course several hours later amid the rising death toll caused by COVID-19.
“We may go,” Trump told reporters as he was signing a $8.3 billion funding package to combat the coronavirus.
The President said he had cancelled the trip because “they thought there was a problem at CDC with somebody that had the virus.”
“They’ve tested the person very fully and it was a negative test,” he continued. “So I may be going.”
The White House had not mentioned a potentially infected person in its initial explanation for cancelling the trip earlier in the day.
“The President is no longer traveling to Atlanta today,” a White House official had said in an email on background. “The CDC has been proactive and prepared since the very beginning and the President does not want to interfere with the CDC’s mission.”
Trump’s apparent desire to avoid interfering with the CDC was at odds with his previous response to the coronavirus, such as directly contradicting the CDC’s warnings about the seriousness of the illness in his public comments and even downplaying the global death rate.
During a town hall hosted by Fox News on Thursday night, Trump found a bright side to the coronavirus.
“I have to say, people are now staying in the United States, spending their money in the U.S, and I like that,” he said.