Af­ter 200 re­sort trips, will Trump visit troops?

The Arizona Republic - - Valley&state - EJ Mon­tini Colum­nist Ari­zona Repub­lic USA TO­DAY NET­WORK

Maybe now, two years into the job and af­ter the midterm elec­tions, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump will visit Amer­i­can troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush trav­eled four times to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan.

As our level of in­volve­ment in those two wars shifted, Bush’s suc­ces­sor, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, vis­ited Iraq once (he’d also been there once as a sen­a­tor) and Afghanistan four times. Don­ald Trump?

Not once.

I men­tion this be­cause the cur­rent pres­i­dent re­mains weirdly ob­sessed with Obama (and any­one else who has held the job.)

A few days ago, pre­par­ing for a rally in Mon­tana, Trump tweeted:

Land­ing in Mon­tana now — at least every­body ad­mits that my lines and crowds are far big­ger than Barack Obama’s...

Since be­com­ing pres­i­dent, Trump has staged cam­paign ral­lies more than 60 times. Sixty.

He has trav­eled more than 200 times to prop­er­ties that he owns.

That’s roughly 30 per­cent of his time as pres­i­dent.

More than 150 of those ex­cur­sions were to golf prop­er­ties.

The con­ser­va­tive watch­dog group Ju­di­cial Watch es­ti­mated that Trump’s travel dur­ing his first year alone cost tax­pay­ers $13 mil­lion.

At his ral­lies, the pres­i­dent is all tough talk and blus­ter and he seems to hardly fin­ish one self-ag­gran­diz­ing trip be­fore board­ing a plane and head­ing to an­other.

But Trump — un­like Bush, un­like Obama — has never been to visit our troops in a war zone.

Two years, and not once.

Bush vis­ited the troops within a year of ini­ti­at­ing the war in Iraq.

Obama was there about three months af­ter be­com­ing pres­i­dent.

Un­like a rally staged in the United States for purely po­lit­i­cal pur­poses, vis­it­ing troops in the field isn’t about the pres­i­dent.

Or shouldn’t be.

It still will get him at­ten­tion, but the em­pha­sis is on the men and women in uni­form. The idea is to use the plat­form of the com­man­der in chief to re­mind the rest of us that we have fel­low cit­i­zens serv­ing in the field. Trump hasn’t done that yet. And when he does, when Trump fi­nally chooses to visit de­ployed troops, I fear the pres­i­dent won’t be leav­ing the coun­try but only head­ing to our side of the U.S. bor­der, where he has set the stage to wage a war against a rag­tag mass of weary, hun­gry men women and chil­dren seek­ing asy­lum.

And even then, when Trump fi­nally goes to a place that he — if no one else — de­clares a “war zone,” I sus­pect his visit won’t be about the troops, but about him.

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