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