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
Add New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser to the list of conservatives who are quitting Donald Trump. "That's all folks! I'm out," she wrote in her Sunday column, saying that while "in my heart, I wanted the smack-talking, hair-challenged, self-absorbed New York City billionaire Republican to nail down this baby," after his recent antics, "I can no longer justify calling myself a Trumpkin." (Peyser had endorsed Trump in June 2015.) Trump is "a guy with the common touch, but the attention span of a flea," she wrote, and she thinks "Trump secretly doesn't want the prize."
That's all pretty mundane stuff, and Peyser is too colorful for mundane, so she threw in some details, based on her experience hanging out with Trump "many times over the years, professionally, socially, and in wacky combinations of the two." She described his sprawling, three-story penthouse as "like the palace of Louis XIV — if the French king mated with Liberace," for example, and dropped in this anecdote:
When I visited about two months after his lovely wife, Melania, now 46, gave birth to the couple's son, Barron, now 10, the infamous germophobe boasted that after fathering five children, he'd never changed a diaper. I enthused that Melania, who stood quietly nearby aboard 5-inch stilettos, had lost all her baby weight. Trump corrected me: "She's almost lost all the baby weight." I was embarrassed for the mother of his youngest kid, who ignored the dig. [New York Post]
So what? Fellow gossip and entertainment columnist Roger Friedman sees Peyser's un-endorsement of Trump as a sign that News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch is done with Trump, too. "Peyser can go over the top, and I disagree with her a lot, but she is the voice of the ring-wing Post," he writes at his Showbiz411 site. "She's also a woman. And a Murdoch soldier. If Murdoch didn't approve of this editorial, it wouldn't have been written." Peter Weber