President Joe Biden flew home to Delaware on Friday to spend the weekend with his wife and family, despite the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommending that Americans forgo travel because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The White House officials said the trip by Mr Biden, his first aboard Air Force One as president, was far less risky than the sort of commercial travel that Americans are being urged to avoid.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the key was “ensuring that people don’t take steps to make others vulnerable”.
Mr Biden said he planned to watch the Super Bowl during his weekend at home, spend time with wife Jill, visit with grandchildren and “get the rest of the stuff we have to move from our house to the other house”.
The trip also comes a day after his son Hunter Biden marked his 51st birthday.
“Any president of the United States, Democrat or Republican, obviously takes Air Force One, a private plane, when they travel,” Ms Psaki said hours before Mr Biden flew to Delaware.
Mr Biden told reporters soon after landing in Delaware that the plane was much like the one he flew as vice president, “only it’s much nicer”.
“It’s a great honour,” said Mr Biden, who said he spent the short flight reading a newspaper: “But I didn’t think about it, to tell you the truth.”
Mr Biden, who has a home outside Wilmington, Delaware, has made bringing the pandemic under control the central focus of the early weeks of his presidency. His team has repeatedly emphasised that the president will model safe behaviour for the nation.