Trump Cancels Planned New Jersey Visit on the Heels of State's Quarantine Order
“Anyone traveling in support of the president this weekend will be closely monitored for symptoms and tested for COVID and therefore pose little to no risk to the local populations," a spokesman said
President Donald Trump will no longer be traveling to his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, this weekend after the state's new 14-day quarantine order for those who have recently traveled to states with high numbers of novel coronavirus cases.
Trump had been scheduled to fly in Air Force One on Friday afternoon to Morristown. White House spokesman Judd Deere said the trip's cancellation "had nothing to do with that" quarantine order, according to multiple outlets.
The White House did not provide further comment on the last-minute cancellation when asked by PEOPLE on Friday.
Trump, 74, was in Arizona this week — one of the states New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy listed in a joint tri-state order with New York and Connecticut requiring travelers to isolate once they arrive, in order to slow new infections, or face fines.
“The president of the United States is not a civilian,” White House spokesman Judd Deere told CNBC in response to whether or not Trump feels the need to abide by the New Jersey order.
However, the president is technically a civilian rather than a member of the military or law enforcement. The White House did not expand further on Deere's comment when asked by PEOPLE on Thursday.
New Jersey's Gov. Murphy told CNN later Wednesday night that the state considers Trump an "essential worker," signaling that the president wouldn't face problems for not following the three states' order.
"There is a carve out for essential workers and I think by any definition the president of the United States is an essential worker and I know the folks get tested around him all the time," said Murphy, 62. "I think the bigger point here is we want folks to really be responsible in terms of thinking about not just themselves, but their families and their communities."
Trump had traveled to Arizona on Tuesday to speak with conservative students.
Deere, 32, told CNBC that anyone traveling with Trump is tested for the coronavirus and confirmed to be negative and added that the White House followed its own mitigation plans during the president's Arizona trip to make sure he wasn't in contact with anyone showing symptoms or anyone that hadn't been tested for the COVID-19 respiratory illness.
“Anyone traveling in support of the president this weekend will be closely monitored for symptoms and tested for COVID and therefore pose little to no risk to the local populations," Deere said.
Trump's travel has increased this month, after he largely remained on the White House grounds in Washington, D.C., throughout the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic — social distancing like much of the rest of the country.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that anyone who violates the tri-state order would be subject to fines and mandatory quarantine — $2,000 for first-time violators, $5,000 for second violations, and potentially up to $10,000 if that person causes harm, according to CNBC.
The travel advisory began at midnight Wednesday and applies to anyone coming from a state with a coronavirus transmission rate above 10 per every 100,000 people on a seven-day rolling average — which currently includes Arizona as well as Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, Utah and Texas, Cuomo said.
At least 12,995 people have died in New Jersey from COVID-19 so far, according to a New York Times tracker.
"We've beaten this virus down to a pulp in New Jersey with an enormous loss of life," Gov. Murphy told CNN. "We've been through hell and we don't want to go through hell again and that;'s the spirit that underpins what we're asking folks to do."
There have been recent issues with the president traveling amid the pandemic — risking infection, despite the precautions taken.
Six Trump campaign staffers tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of his re-election rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday, while PEOPLE confirmed with the president's campaign that two additional staffers tested positive after having been present at the event.
Two Secret Service agents traveling with Trump also tested positive for the virus after last weekend's rally, CNN reported.
Murphy, Cuomo and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced their mutual quarantine order during a news conference on Wednesday with the understanding that infections in one of the closely located states may impact the other and continue inflating the virus' spread.
“We worked very hard to get the viral transmission rate down. We don’t want to see it go up because a lot of people come into this region and they can literally bring the infection with them,” Cuomo said. “Because what happens in New York happens in New Jersey and happens in Connecticut.”
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