President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he plans to kick off his out-of-state travel next week with a trip to Arizona, as the White House moves to push state leaders to consider re-opening their economies.
The president told reporters he plans to resume traveling after spending more than a month largely confined to the White House because of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.
“I think I’m going to Arizona next week, and we look forward to that,” Trump said during a roundtable with business leaders to discuss a strategy to reopen the U.S. economy.
“And I’m going to, I hope, Ohio very soon,” he continued. “And we’re going to start to move around, and hopefully in the not too distant future, we’ll have some massive rallies and people will be sitting next to each other.”
Arizona and Ohio are expected to be key battleground states in the upcoming November presidential election. In 2016, Trump won Arizona by less than 4 percentage points and Ohio by 8.
Trump said his Arizona trip would be industry-focused because “it’s too soon for the big everybody-get-together-and-stand-next-to-each-other crowds.”
White House spokesman Judd Deere said on Twitter Wednesday that Trump would visit Phoenix on Tuesday. Deere said the president plans to tour a Honeywell plant “to highlight critical medical equipment production and the addition of 500 manufacturing jobs in the state.”
🚨🚨@realDonaldTrump will travel to Phoenix, Arizona, on Tuesday and visit a @honeywell facility to highlight critical medical equipment production and the addition of 500 manufacturing jobs in the state 🛠🇺🇸 h/t @KTAR923 | https://t.co/KFqa2BpUwm
— Judd Deere (@JuddPDeere45) April 30, 2020
The president last left Washington on March 28, when he visited Norfolk, Virginia, to see off a Naval hospital ship before it made its way to New York City. Trump has a trip to West Point planned for June 13, when he is set to address U.S. Military Academy graduates.
The U.S. economy shrank at a 4.8 percent annual rate in first quarter of the year—a precursor to far grimmer reports that are expected this summer from the severe recession triggered by the pandemic.
A White House official said that Trump also wishes to visit those working on the front lines of the CCP virus outbreak, Bloomberg reported.
The White House has been pivoting to a new stage of the crisis, focused on efforts to reopen the nation’s economy state-by-state, although some have expressed concerns that lifting restrictions too quickly and without sufficient testing and contact tracing will spur a resurgence.
“We’re heartened that the worst of the pain and suffering is going to be behind us,” Trump said of the modeled April virus peak in the country.
Trump laid out a vision to eventually return to pre-CCP virus normalcy—“with or without” a vaccine—with packed restaurants and filled stadiums. That vision flies in the face of assessments from expert doctors who say the country will need to embrace a “new normal” that includes extended social distancing and mask-wearing.
“I don’t want people to get used to this,” Trump told reporters. “I see the new normal being what it was three months ago.”
Trump said Wednesday that he will not be extending the White House’s CCP virus social distancing guidelines, which are set to expire on Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.