ATLANTA — President Trump's visit to Atlanta and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concluded hours after it was almost canceled Friday.
WHEN WAS PRESIDENT TRUMP IN ATLANTA?
President Trump and Air Force One landed at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in the Marietta area around just before 3:40 p.m. with senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue aboard. Governor Brian Kemp and Rep. Doug Collins were among those waiting for the president as he landed. His visit to Atlanta follows a presidential tour of Nashville where a tornado caused massive destruction and killed multiple people.
He later departed Marietta en route to Atlanta before arriving at the CDC at some point after 4 p.m.
President Trump was initially expected to visit the public health agency for about an hour and 15 minutes before departing for Marietta around 5:15 p.m. However, he and others at the CDC spoke extensively about coronavirus and other issues of national importance.
He then left for Dobbins aboard Air Force One around 6 p.m. before heading for Mar-a-Lago to spend the weekend.
The presidential motorcade severely impacted drivers in Atlanta as entire interstate sections were closed for his movements through the city. Among the routes blocked during the trip were portions of I-75 and I-85 as well as surface streets on the DeKalb-Fulton county line.
WHY WAS PRESIDENT TRUMP ATLANTA?
The president was in town to tour the Atlanta-based CDC amid the spread of coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19.
The visit to the CDC followed a national bill signing in which the president authorized the use of $8.3 billion to combat the spread of the disease. It also followed a Tuesday trip to the National Institutes of Health as the federal government mounts a response to the spread of coronavirus.
WHO WAS IN ATTENDANCE?
On Thursday, Georgia Sen. David Perdue said he would accompany the president on his visit to the CDC.
“I’m extremely proud to have the CDC in Georgia. They’ve been a stalwart against all these potential pandemics over the last 50 years," Perdue said in an interview on Fox Business.
"They do a fantastic job. I give Vice President Pence credit too. He has stepped up on this testing issue, and we now have the capability to do over 1.5 million tests right now.”
11Alive has also confirmed that Sen. Kelly Loeffler was aboard Air Force One with the President on the way to Atlanta. They were greated by several people, most-notably Governor Brian Kemp and Rep. Doug Collins.
WHY WAS THE CDC VISIT REMOVED FROM PRESIDENT TRUMP'S AGENDA?
According to pool reports, the President's visit to the federal agency was initially removed from Friday's schedule because there were concerns that someone at the CDC may have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Pool reporting said the CDC did not know if they would get the results in time before the president's trip, so, "out of an abundance of caution," the trip was postponed for "safety." However, the results came back as negative, prompting the visit to be added back to the schedule.
"Yesterday afternoon, we were informed that there may have been a person with the virus and they now find out that that was negative test. They've tested the person very fully and it was a negative test. So I may be going," explained the President during the bill signing. "We're going to see if they can turn it around with Secret Service. We may be going."