Trump has es­caped Wash­ing­ton, but do not call this a va­ca­tion

Re­fers to 17-day break as a ‘work­ing va­ca­tion’

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

BRIDGEWATER: US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump would like to in­ter­rupt his va­ca­tion to de­liver the fol­low­ing mes­sage: Don’t call this a va­ca­tion. The pres­i­dent has de­camped from Wash­ing­ton to his pri­vate golf club in cen­tral New Jer­sey. But he has re­peat­edly pushed back on the idea that this is a re­lax­ing Au­gust get­away, post­ing on Twit­ter over the week­end: “this is not a va­ca­tion - meet­ings and calls!”

Trump’s aides are re­fer­ring to the 17-day break as a “work­ing va­ca­tion.” They say Trump is meeting with ad­vis­ers and cab­i­net mem­bers to discuss pol­icy. He is ex­pected to go to New York City next week. On Tues­day, he’ll at­tend a meeting on the opi­oid cri­sis. On Mon­day, he had noth­ing on his pub­lic sched­ule. Aides de­clined to an­swer re­peated ques­tions about whether he is play­ing golf.

Early yes­ter­day, Trump touted his plans for the day on Twit­ter, say­ing “I will be hold­ing a ma­jor brief­ing on the Opi­oid cri­sis, a ma­jor prob­lem for our coun­try.” Still, the only sight­ing of Trump since he landed in New Jer­sey was a video that sur­faced on­line Satur­day of the pres­i­dent greet­ing wed­ding guests at his club. Dressed in a golf shirt and a red “Make Amer­ica Great Again” hat, Trump ex­ited a golf cart to chat with the guests.

Off the clock

So far, the main proof Trump is not off the clock is his steady flow of Twit­ter com­ments, par­tic­u­larly Mon­day, when rain likely kept him in­doors. Through­out the day he pushed out mes­sages tout­ing his sup­port­ers, at­tack­ing Demo­cratic Sen. Richard Blu­men­thal and high­light­ing a vote by the United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil to slap more sanc­tions on North Korea.

“Work­ing hard from New Jer­sey while White House goes through long planned ren­o­va­tion,” he said, re­fer­ring to White House up­dates un­der­way, in­clud­ing the re­place­ment of a West Wing heat­ing and cool­ing sys­tem. Getting out of Wash­ing­ton in the dog days of sum­mer is a wellestab­lished pres­i­den­tial tra­di­tion. Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush en­joyed his Texas ranch, while Pres­i­dent Barack Obama fre­quented Martha’s Vineyard in Mas­sachusetts. Pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan went out to Santa Bar­bara, Cal­i­for­nia.

Of course, the pres­i­dent never re­ally leaves the job, trav­el­ing with a mini-White House of ad­vis­ers and aides and con­tin­u­ing brief­ings and con­ver­sa­tions wher­ever he goes. While there is prece­dent for Trump to get a change of scenery, the pres­i­dent may be chaf­ing at call­ing it va­ca­tion be­cause he fre­quently slammed his pre­de­ces­sor for leav­ing town and for play­ing golf. In Au­gust 2011, Trump tweeted: “@Barack­Obama played golf yes­ter­day. Now he heads to a 10 day va­ca­tion in Martha’s Vineyard. Nice work ethic.”

“Pres­i­dent Trump is hy­per-sen­si­tive about the word ‘va­ca­tion’ be­cause he ham­mered Pres­i­dent Obama for so long for tak­ing it,” said pres­i­den­tial his­to­rian Dou­glas Brink­ley, a pro­fes­sor of his­tory at Rice Univer­sity. Brink­ley added that pres­i­dents are “al­ways hav­ing to work. Hence the phrase ‘work­ing va­ca­tion.’”

Oversea trav­els

So far, Trump has spent 13 of 28 week­ends in of­fice away from the White House, mostly at his prop­er­ties in Palm Beach, Florida, or in Bed­min­ster, New Jer­sey, ac­cord­ing to an Associated Press count. The fig­ures in­clude a week­end dur­ing of­fi­cial travel over­seas, and Fa­ther’s Day week­end at Camp David, the gov­ern­ment-owned pres­i­den­tial re­treat in Mary­land. Anita McBride, who served as Laura Bush’s chief of staff, agreed that the White House trav­els with the pres­i­dent. She said getting out of Wash­ing­ton has ben­e­fits, re­call­ing Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W Bush’s love of cy­cling and other ac­tiv­i­ties at his ranch in Craw­ford, Texas. “That’s where he recharged his bat­ter­ies,” she said. “Any of us who have worked in the White

House re­ally un­der­stands the need for getting away.” The real world of­ten in­trudes on th­ese sum­mer pres­i­den­tial get­aways. In 1998, Clin­ton briefly came back to Wash­ing­ton from Martha’s Vineyard to deal with mis­sile at­tacks in Su­dan and Afghanistan. Rea­gan came home early from a Cal­i­for­nia va­ca­tion in 1983 af­ter Korean Air­lines Flight 007 was shot down in by a Soviet fighter jet. In 2005, Ge­orge W. Bush was crit­i­cized for not cut­ting off his va­ca­tion af­ter Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina hit New Or­leans. Brink­ley re­called a se­ries of se­ri­ous events that in­truded on Obama’s sum­mer breaks, in­clud­ing the be­head­ing of jour­nal­ist James Fo­ley by Is­lamic State mil­i­tants in 2014 and Syria’s chem­i­cal weapons use in 2013. “Things hap­pen when pres­i­dents are away,” said Brink­ley. “Ev­ery Au­gust you have some­thing hor­rific that’s go­ing to hap­pen.” — AP

MORRISTOWN: In this Aug 4, 2017, file photo, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump waves as he walks down the steps of Air Force One with his grand­chil­dren, Ara­bella Kush­ner, cen­ter, and Joseph Kush­ner, right, af­ter ar­riv­ing at Morristown Mu­nic­i­pal Air­port to be­gin his sum­mer va­ca­tion at his Bed­min­ster golf club. — AP

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