WASHINGTON — President Trump at the last minute scrapped plans to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta on Friday, forgoing a chance to tour the nerve center of the response to the coronavirus outbreak.
As late as 8:30 p.m. on Thursday night, Vice President Mike Pence indicated that the trip was still on, telling reporters traveling with him that the president would formally approve an emergency spending bill while there. “President Trump is expected to sign the legislation tomorrow as he visits the C.D.C. in Atlanta,” Mr. Pence said.
A White House official said Friday morning that the president canceled the visit because he did not want to interfere with the work at the centers as its staff scrambled to get a grip on the virus. The number of cases worldwide is nearing 100,000 and causing enough fear that investors are dumping stocks, businesses and nonprofit organizations are canceling conventions, travelers are scotching spring break vacations and schools are suspending study abroad programs. As of Thursday evening, at least 215 people with the illness from the virus, Covid-19, have been treated in the United States.
Mr. Trump will still fly to Nashville on Friday to visit the site of a deadly tornado and then from there will head to Florida where he will headline campaign fund-raising events and spend the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago estate.