ATLANTA — President Donald Trump took off from Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta shortly after 6 p.m. after touring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Channel 2 political reporter Richard Elliot was the only local television reporter embedded with the president’s motorcade and spent the afternoon following Trump on his tour through the CDC.
The reason for the president’s visit Friday was to meet with officials at the CDC over the administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak now spreading through the country.
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Trump toured the facility with CDC director Robert Redfield. Joining the two were Gov. Brian Kemp, Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler and Rep. Doug Collins.
The president boasted about his ability to understand the virus, even though he has repeatedly misstated how long it would take for a vaccine to be developed and available.
"I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it," he said. "Maybe I have a natural ability."
The president spoke about what's being done to stop the spread of the virus.
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“We are prepared for anything ... and in a short period of time. It’s incredible,” Trump said. "We have very low numbers compared to major countries throughout the world. Our numbers are lower than just about anybody.”
At one point, Trump called up Kemp to talk about the availability of testing kits.
The Trump administration has taken some heat over test kits that were sent out two weeks ago across the country that turned out to be faulty.
Because of that, every coronavirus test had to be sent to the CDC here in Atlanta. New test kits have since been sent out.
Georgia received about 150, and the state says it has already used about 50 of them.
Trump will spend the weekend at his resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
MINUTE-BY-MINUTE LOOK AT THE AFTERNOON:
5:38 p.m.: President Trump’s motorcade getting ready to return to Dobbins Air Reserve Base
And we’re off, about to race back through Atlanta traffic just in time for rush hour. pic.twitter.com/1G6U2Y77wi— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) March 6, 2020
5:31 p.m.: President Trump and officials from CDC finish up questions with news agencies
4:45 p.m.: President Trump and CDC officials take questions about coronavirus
HAPPENING NOW: President Donald Trump is touring the CDC: https://t.co/u491jgIymi pic.twitter.com/5WlfD75cMT— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) March 6, 2020
4:25 p.m.: Interstates reopen as President Trump arrives at CDC
4:22pm UPDATE: President Motorcase has cleared from interstates but intense delays remain. @wsbradio @wsbtv #ATLtraffic pic.twitter.com/0cCnpepQjN— Mike Shields WSB (@MikeShieldsWSB) March 6, 2020
4:23 p.m.: President Donald Trump arrives at CDC
Folks gather near the Druid Hills exit on 85 to cheer, jeer Trump as his motorcade heads toward the CDC. One sign said: “Welcome Chief Idiot.” #gapol pic.twitter.com/vDjwtC5KeT— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) March 6, 2020
4:08 p.m.: The Presidential motorcade is now en route to CDC
It doesn’t get more surreal than this: Driving down an eerily empty I-75 in Friday afternoon rush hour. #gapol pic.twitter.com/nj0O6GcOA5— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) March 6, 2020
4:00 p.m.: President Trump’s motorcade leaves Dobbins Air Reserve Base
3:55pm Current Presidential Closures:— Mike Shields WSB (@MikeShieldsWSB) March 6, 2020
I-75/sb in Cobb into Midtown.
I-285/eb/wb ( Inner & Outer loops) in Cobb County at I-75 (Exit 20).
I-85nb at I-75/85/nb. All on ramps blocked as well. @wsbradio @wsbtv #ATLtraffic pic.twitter.com/c2L34chbNr
3:51 p.m.: I-75 SB has been shutdown for the presidential motorcade
RED ALERT Cobb Co & Atlanta: Presidential Motorcade...I-75/sb SHUTDOWN leaving Marietta in to Midtown. The Connector/nb (75-85) SHUTDOWN at 17th St. I-285/eb/wb SHUTDOWN at I-75. #ATLtraffic https://t.co/kTgeaYu0Zi pic.twitter.com/D7W4sEcJBG— Triple Team Traffic (@WSBTraffic) March 6, 2020
3:41 p.m.: Triple Team Traffic says road closures have begun as the President makes his way to the CDC.
The President has arrived & road closures have begun. I-75sb/nb shutting down between Marietta and Midtown. I-285/eb/wb will close at I-75. I-85/nb closed leaving Midtown. All exits closed as well. #ATLtraffic https://t.co/kTgeaYu0Zi https://t.co/EecDyHlxCy— Triple Team Traffic (@WSBTraffic) March 6, 2020
3:38 p.m.: Gov. Kemp and Rep. Doug Collins arrive to meet President Trump
Gov. Kemp just arrived along with Rep. Doug Collins to greet Pres. Trump. pic.twitter.com/gozTGYlEHS— Richard Elliot (@RElliotWSB) March 6, 2020
3:35 p.m.: President Trump arrives at Dobbins Air Reserve Base
#Breaking Air Force One just landed at Dobbins ARB pic.twitter.com/V4cRg7tp11— Richard Elliot (@RElliotWSB) March 6, 2020
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Trump’s visit had been postponed earlier in the day and removed from his official schedule before it was added back.
Prior to signing a $8.3 billion spending bill for the virus this morning, Trump told reporters his trip had been postponed over a possible coronavirus case involving a CDC worker. He later said it was no longer a concern.
“We may go. They thought there was a problem at CDC with somebody that had the virus. It turned out negative," Trump said. “I may be going. We’re going to see if we can turn it around with Secret Service.”
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