Trump to See Off Naval Hospital Ship in Virginia, Going Against Travel Warnings

“It’s like a tiny trip,” he continued. “I think it’s a good thing when I go over there and I say thank you. We’ll be careful.”

As he departed the White House on Saturday afternoon under a light rain, Mr. Trump also told reporters he was considering a two-week quarantine of New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut. “I’d rather not do it, but we may need it,” he said. The president said he was considering restricting travel to and from those states “because they’re having problems down in Florida, a lot of New Yorkers going down,” but he did not offer any specifics on how that would work.

Mr. Trump was accompanied on the trip to Norfolk by Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, as well as his incoming chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to the president. The trip was proposed, an official said, partly because the naval station is self-contained and will not require Mr. Trump to be in public areas, like a commercial airport. Vice President Mike Pence had previously visited the base when the Comfort was in port. Amid the pandemic, the ship’s departure for New York was internally seen at the White House as a reassuring moment for the president to highlight with a personal appearance.

Mr. Trump has been grounded at the White House since March 19, when he visited the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s headquarters. His typical weekend round of golf has been curtailed since the outbreak of the virus in the United States, as have all of his scheduled weekend trips to his private Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla. He has grown increasingly restless confined to the White House complex, where he has watched the economic gains that were intended to serve as the heart of his re-election campaign evaporate.

Mr. Trump made it clear this week that the visit to the ship could draw publicity. “I’ll kiss it goodbye,” he said. “I suspect the media will be following.”

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