×
FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
April 17, 2017
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

While Vice President Mike Pence was traveling to South Korea on Sunday to start a 10-day tour of Asia, President Trump was wrapping up his seventh presidential weekend at Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Florida, attending Easter services at an Episcopal church before flying back to Washington. Florida is one of the seven states Trump has visited for public events in his first 86 days in office — he has also held campaign rallies in Tennessee and Kentucky, visited factories in South Carolina and Michigan, addressed military personnel in Virginia, and spoke at CPAC in Maryland.

None of his travels have been West of the Mississippi or outside the United States. Trump plans to visit Wisconsin (still east of the Mississippi) on Tuesday, and his first visit abroad is scheduled for late May.

Compared with his immediate predecessors, The New York Times reports, Trump's travel schedule is unusual. At this point in his first term, former President Barack Obama had made public appearances in nine states and was beginning his fourth trip abroad, while former President George W. Bush had visited 23 states and Canada. Presidents tend to travel to promote their agendas, especially during their "honeymoon" periods, when they have maximum political sway.

The White House said Trump "has avoided travel in order to focus on an ambitious domestic agenda, including the signing of executive orders and legislation to roll back Obama-era regulations," The New York Times reports. "When you're really trying to get a lot done, you have to budget your time very carefully, and we're going to continue to be smart about the best use of his time, because his time is his most valuable asset," said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. "The pace of his schedule has been nonstop."

Ari Fleisher, who held Spicer's job under Bush, said it's "surprising" that Trump hasn't used travel to advance policy goals, kind of. "It makes some sense that Donald Trump, whose candidacy was so much more about him — how he was different, how he could change Washington — rather than specific policy proposals, that his travel would be more about him personally than any initiative," he told the Times. Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, a Brookings Institution scholar of presidential travel, agrees: "What's striking with President Trump is not only how contained his travel has been, but how much of it is around campaign rallies, rather than something he wants to get done." Peter Weber

1:34 p.m. ET
Fox News/Screenshot

At least six people were injured Sunday morning in a shooting at Burnett Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee, local officials say. An NBC News report says one person was killed.

Police were called around 11:15 a.m. with reports of multiple shots fired. The church's Sunday morning service began at 10 a.m.

The shooting victims have been transported to a nearby hospital, and Fox News reports one person has been taken into police custody. The identity and motives of the shooter are so far unknown.

This is a breaking story that will be updated as more details become available. Bonnie Kristian

12:48 p.m. ET
Eric Risberg/The Associated Press

Oakland A's catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first MLB player to join NFL players like Colin Kaepernick by kneeling in protest during the national anthem. Maxwell took a knee before his team's Saturday evening game against the Texas Rangers.

"My decision has been coming for a long time," he explained after the game. "I finally got to the point where I thought the inequality of man is being discussed, and it's being practiced from our president."

"The point of my kneeling is not to disrespect our military; it's not to disrespect our Constitution; it's not to disrespect this country," Maxwell continued. "My hand over my heart symbolizes the fact that I am and I'll forever be an American citizen, and I'm more than grateful to be here. But my kneeling is what is getting the attention because I'm kneeling for the people that don't have a voice."

Maxwell acted in response to President Trump's weekend attacks on Kaepernick and and other athletes who kneel during the anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice. "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now?'" Trump asked a rally crowd Friday. Since Trump's initial comments, pro athletes, coaches, and owners have united in opposition to his remarks. Bonnie Kristian

12:27 p.m. ET

Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens players in London for a game Sunday locked arms and took a knee during the U.S. national anthem in solidarity with athletes like Colin Kaepernick who have come under attack by President Trump this weekend. The teams' coaches and Jaguars owner Shahid Khan joined the gesture of defiance of Trump's critique of Kaepernick's stand against police brutality and racial injustice in America.

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti also issued a statement endorsing the athletes' right to protest on the field. "We respect [our players'] demonstration and support them 100 percent," he said. "All voices need to be heard. That's democracy in its highest form."

Meanwhile, Mike Tomlin, coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, announced Sunday that his team would not "participate in the anthem" in the afternoon game against the Chicago Bears. The Steelers have decided to stay in the locker room during the anthem, Tomlin said, so players aren't "forced to choose sides."

Rex Ryan, former coach of the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets, expressed dismay at Trump's comments while speaking on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown. "I supported Donald Trump," Ryan said. "But I'm reading these comments and it's appalling to me, and I'm sure it's appalling to almost any citizen in our country. It should be."

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who donated to Trump's inaugural festivities, said he was "deeply disappointed" in the president's statements. Bonnie Kristian

11:28 a.m. ET

During an appearance on ABC's This Week Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin addressed President Trump's weekend attacks on pro athletes like Colin Kaepernick who kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice.

Mnuchin argued free speech is not at issue because the NFL is a private organization which can set its own rules, eluding the question of how criticism from Trump, a government official, affects that equation. "This isn't about Democrats. It's not about Republicans. It's not about race; it's not about free speech. They can do free speech on their own time," Mnuchin said. "This is about respect for the military and first responders and the country."

The treasury secretary maintained Trump simply wants the NFL to require all athletes to stand during the national anthem, a specification Trump did not make when he tweeted that kneeling protests "should not be allowed."

"The NFL has all different types of rules. You can't have stickers on your helmet; you have to have your jersey tucked in," Mnuchin said. "I think what the president is saying is that the owners should have a rule that players should have to stand in respect for the national anthem." Bonnie Kristian

10:29 a.m. ET

Germans head to the polls Sunday in a vote anticipated to give Chancellor Angela Merkel her fourth term in office. Her center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is predicted to take about 34 percent of Bundestag seats with which it will form a coalition government with Merkel again at the head.

"There are a lot of problems in other countries, think Donald Trump or Brexit," one Berlin voter told NBC News. "With Merkel there is a sense that there is no great problem that she couldn't overcome, and that she's a politician you can trust."

The growth of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party — which campaigned on a populist, anti-immigration message and could well become the Bundestag's third-largest party out of six represented — has raised alarm among many Germans concerned about extremism. Turnout is expected to be high. Bonnie Kristian

10:21 a.m. ET
Hector Retamal/Getty Images

The National Weather Service of San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Friday reported an "extremely dangerous situation" due to a potential dam failure threatening a region with 70,000 residents already grappling with the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Maria. But the damaged dam continued to hold as of Sunday morning, and evacuees began to return to their homes.

While the dam on Lake Guajataca remains compromised and a flash flood warning is in effect through Sunday afternoon, this is welcome respite for Puerto Ricans facing "apocalyptic" post-hurricane conditions. Aid is beginning to arrive to the island territory, where most Puerto Ricans remain without power and 95 percent of cell phone service sites are down.

Currently a Category 2 storm, Maria is expected to dissipate over the Atlantic Ocean later this week. Bonnie Kristian

8:13 a.m. ET

President Trump again referred to Kim Jong Un as "Little Rocket Man" in a tweet Saturday night, the third iteration of the president's favorite new insult in his war of words with the North Korean leader:

On Thursday and Friday, Kim and Trump labeled each other a "mentally deranged U.S. dotard" and "madman," respectively. Trump previously used "Rocket Man" during his United Nations speech Tuesday and at an Alabama campaign rally Friday.

The Saturday tweet came several hours after a group of U.S. bombers and fighter escorts flew well north of the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, staying over international waters but making a clear show of force toward Pyongyang. The Pentagon characterized the flight as a demonstration "that the president has many military options to defeat any threat."

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said Saturday Trump's insults make a North Korean strike on the U.S. mainland "more inevitable," calling Trump "President Evil." Bonnie Kristian

See More Speed Reads