WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump was flying home from a speech in New Orleans on Saturday when the airplane experienced engine failure, turned around and made an emergency landing, two people familiar with the incident said.

Trump was returning to his home in Palm Beach, Florida, on a plane borrowed from a Republican donor, one of the people told NBC News, confirming a report in The Washington Post. 

Before the aborted flight, Trump had spoken to a group of the Republican National Committee’s leading fundraisers at the Four Seasons Hotel in New Orleans. During the speech, he repeated baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election was rigged and also criticized President Joe Biden’s handling of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

After taking off from New Orleans, the plane flew about 75 miles before reversing course and making the emergency landing at the same New Orleans airport, the person familiar with the matter said. Trump returned home safely on another donor’s plane.

During his presidency, Trump expressed misgivings about the safety of air travel.

In 2019, he tweeted that planes were becoming “far too complex” and that “pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT.” That tweet followed the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that killed 157 people on board.

Peter Nicholas

Peter Nicholas is a senior national political reporter for NBC News.


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