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Washington - Worldwide Effort Set To Keep Trump Happy On 1st Trip Abroad

Published on: May 19, 2017 11:30 AM
By: AP
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US President Donald J. Trump looks on during a meeting with President Juan Manuel Santos (not pictured) of Colombia in the Oval Office of  the White House, in Washington, DC, USA, 18 May 2017.  EPA/Olivier Douliery / POOLUS President Donald J. Trump looks on during a meeting with President Juan Manuel Santos (not pictured) of Colombia in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington, DC, USA, 18 May 2017.  EPA/Olivier Douliery / POOL

Washington - When President Donald Trump sits down for dinner in Saudi Arabia, caterers have ensured that his favorite meal — steak with a side of ketchup — will be offered alongside the traditional local cuisine.

At NATO and the Group of 7 summits, foreign delegations have gotten word that the new U.S. president prefers short presentations and lots of visual aids. And at all of Trump’s five stops on his first overseas trip, his team has spent weeks trying to build daily downtime into his otherwise jam-packed schedule.

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It’s all part of a worldwide effort to accommodate America’s homebody president on a voyage with increasingly raised stakes given the ballooning controversy involving his campaign’s possible ties to Russia. For a former international businessman, Trump simply doesn’t have an affinity for much international.

Even before Trump’s trip morphed from a quick jaunt to Europe into a nine-day behemoth, White House aides were on edge about how the president would take to grueling pressures of foreign travel: the time zone changes, the unfamiliar hotels, the local delicacies. Two officials said they feared that a difficult trip might even lead the president to hand off future traveling duties to Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump’s final itinerary hardly eases him into the delicate world of international diplomacy on foreign soil. After departing Friday on an overnight flight on Air Force One, Trump will hopscotch from Saudi Arabia to Israel to the Vatican. He’ll close his trip with a pair of summits in Brussels and Sicily, often-staid affairs that require leaders to be locked in lengthy plenary sessions.

“The chance of something going wrong — you insult the hosts, you get sick, your boss gets sick, you miscommunicate with your hosts, you make a scheduling error, you need to change the schedule just hours before a meeting, the motorcade get stuck in traffic, or the plane is stranded due to bad weather — is extremely high,” said Julianne Smith, who served as a foreign policy adviser to Vice President Joe Biden and is now a senior fellow at the Center for New American Security.

“Personally, I think they should cut it back now before they regret it,” she said of Trump’s long jaunt.

The trip marks the first time since taking office that Trump has spent a night away from the White House at a property that doesn’t bear his name. And it’s not just the bragging rights Trump gets when he goes to his own properties: Staffers know his meal preferences and the exact temperature he likes a room set at. He’s often surrounded by long-time friends and acquaintances who have memberships to the commander in chief-owned retreats.

The one trip Trump took abroad as a candidate was to mark the opening of a new golf resort in Scotland. He led journalists on a roving tour of the course and said his property would benefit if Britain’s currency tanked following its decision to leave the European Union.

The stakes will be far higher as President Trump makes his debut on the international stage. He’s the first president since Jimmy Carter to not travel abroad during his first 100 days in office. And he’ll depart under a cloud of controversy, much of it of his own making, including the White House’s botched handling of FBI Director James Comey’s firing.

Nearly all of Trump’s senior White House officials are traveling with him. First lady Melania Trump will also be on the trip, headlining her own events on each stop.

The Slovenian-born Mrs. Trump is the more seasoned international traveler in the relationship. She lived and worked as a model in Paris and Milan before moving to New York, and speaks multiple languages.

Before the couple married, they flew to Slovenia so the New York real estate mogul could meet his bride-to-be’s family. The day trip marked the only time Trump has set foot in his wife’s home country.

“At least I can say that I went,” Trump told The New York Times last year.

Foreign travel has never been high on Trump’s list of priorities. During his first marriage, he usually stayed behind when wife Ivana took his children for visits to her home country, the former Czechoslovakia. He’s made the occasional stops to meet business partners abroad, but most of his travel has been to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, and other U.S. properties.

Trump’s hosts on his upcoming trip are well-aware of his aversion to travel and are trying to make accommodations to keep him happy.

In Saudi Arabia, people with knowledge of the planning for Trump’s trip say the caterers are planning to offer the president steak and ketchup alongside the lamb and hefty portions of rice on the menu. All the meat will have been butchered in a Shariah-compliant halal manner as per Islamic custom.

The people with knowledge of the Saudis’ planning insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the sensitive details.



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Read Comments (8)  —  Post Yours »

1

 May 19, 2017 at 12:24 PM TrumpISprez4-8 Says:

Yes other countries realize that a president especially of the USA deserves respect. What a shame that in the USA the liberals lack a basic respect for the oval office.

So sad

2

 May 19, 2017 at 02:25 PM yonasonw Says:

"At NATO and the Group of 7 summits, foreign delegations have gotten word that the new U.S. president prefers short presentations and lots of visual aids. And at all of Trump’s five stops on his first overseas trip, his team has spent weeks trying to build daily downtime into his otherwise jam-packed schedule."

"Even before Trump’s trip morphed from a quick jaunt to Europe into a nine-day behemoth, White House aides were on edge about how the president would take to grueling pressures of foreign travel: the time zone changes, the unfamiliar hotels, the local delicacies. Two officials said they feared that a difficult trip might even lead the president to hand off future traveling duties to Vice President Mike Pence."

My word, this sounds like plans for a pampered special needs patient...I don't think he could stand the rigors of being a Public Safety Director, much less President. Disgusting.

3

 May 19, 2017 at 03:46 PM TrumpISprez4-8 Says:

Reply to #2  
yonasonw Says:

"At NATO and the Group of 7 summits, foreign delegations have gotten word that the new U.S. president prefers short presentations and lots of visual aids. And at all of Trump’s five stops on his first overseas trip, his team has spent weeks trying to build daily downtime into his otherwise jam-packed schedule."

"Even before Trump’s trip morphed from a quick jaunt to Europe into a nine-day behemoth, White House aides were on edge about how the president would take to grueling pressures of foreign travel: the time zone changes, the unfamiliar hotels, the local delicacies. Two officials said they feared that a difficult trip might even lead the president to hand off future traveling duties to Vice President Mike Pence."

My word, this sounds like plans for a pampered special needs patient...I don't think he could stand the rigors of being a Public Safety Director, much less President. Disgusting.

Umm the president during the campaign trail worked 20 hours a day to win . He flew at times to 4 states in one day. Does that sound special needs to you?

Re short presentations and visual aids, This is the new standard in corporate america. People no longer follow long winded pointless speeches.People like small to the point powerpoint presentations.

4

 May 19, 2017 at 04:11 PM georgeg Says:

It should be clear at what my sarcasm is aimed. Indeed, let us concentrate all our attention to the downtime - the downtime being the time it takes to descend the stairs down from Airforce 1 - and pretend that is Trump's entire schedule. Clearly no-one adjusted their presentations to suit Obama's style during Obama's visits, right? After all, what is not reported did not happen. Indeed, let us complain about how pampered surgeons are. After all, we know that surgeons are too lazy to even pick up a scalpel or wipe their own sweat off their face - it all has to be handed to them and done for them.

5

 May 19, 2017 at 04:48 PM Anonymous Says:

A weak low-energy old man with a short attention span who needs 'down-time' during the middle of the working day to take naps.

6

 May 19, 2017 at 06:03 PM Anonymous Says:

To#2- When you travel,don't you like conveniences, and being treated courteously?

7

 May 19, 2017 at 10:30 PM PaulinSaudi Says:

It seems he was avoiding making an oversea trip, and now that he has to the trip grew too long to be easily manageable. It might have been better to make more, shorter trips.

8

 May 20, 2017 at 11:37 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
TrumpISprez4-8 Says:

Umm the president during the campaign trail worked 20 hours a day to win . He flew at times to 4 states in one day. Does that sound special needs to you?

Re short presentations and visual aids, This is the new standard in corporate america. People no longer follow long winded pointless speeches.People like small to the point powerpoint presentations.

Umm, no. He CLAIMED to work 20 hours a day. He claimed you would get a top-notch education at Trump university - did you?

Bloomberg and McCain are examples of politicians who fly planes; Trump is an example of a passenger who sleeps on planes).

Us old-timers know that 'short presentations and visual aids' become the 'new standard in corporate america' every few years - and quickly fall out of favor. They fall out of favor because smart delegation of responsibility requires attention to detail, smart work requires attention to detail, smart management of staff requires attention to detail.

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