Donald Trump boarded Air Force One this afternoon and left for Japan. It’s the kind of overseas trip that many White House officials would probably clamor to be a part of.
Or in this case, perhaps not. CNN reported that several members of the president’s team do their best to avoid trips like these.
Not always an eager traveler, Trump has complained in the past about the pace of his foreign travel or the accommodations arranged for him abroad. It’s his aides, however, who sometimes dread boarding Air Force One for a lengthy flight overseas, knowing full well the boss will make little use of the bed wedged into the nose of the plane.
It’s like being held captive, one official said of traveling with the President on Air Force One.
CNN’s report paints a picture that’s both unflattering and incredibly easy to believe. For example, Trump likes to spend hours reviewing cable news coverage recorded on a TiVo-like device, and he’s been known to wake aides to devise a response to something he saw in the media.
After arriving in a foreign country, Trump has also been known to grow frustrated if he lacks access to Fox News, so the White House Communications Agency has arranged for a streaming service that allows him to keep up with his favorite programs.
CNN’s report added, Trump prefers trips where he is the guest of honor, as compared to larger gatherings of many international leaders. With this in mind, consider what the president bragged about at a White House event yesterday on agriculture and trade:
I’m going to meet with Japan, as you know. I’m going there on Friday. Many of you are going to be coming with us. And it’s a very big thing going on with the Emperor. It’s something that hasn’t happened in over 200 years. I am the guest, meaning the United States is the guest.
But Prime Minister Abe said to me, very specifically, You are the guest of honor. There’s only one guest of honor. You are the guest honor, as I represent the country. With all the countries of the world, I’m the guest of honor at the biggest event that they’ve had in over 200 years.
Did Abe actually say anything like this? Probably not. But it apparently makes Trump feel better to believe this – and it makes him feel even better to tell the world about it.
I’m sure his aides will hear all about this, over and over again, during the long flight.