Trump’s ‘working vacation’ doesn’t give all his staff any respite from the drama



David WebbEveryone in an organization benefits when the boss takes a vacation. That is especially true in the case of the U.S. government, when President Donald J. Trump checked into his Bedminister, N.J., golf club for 17 days.

One can only imagine the collective sigh of relief expressed by the embattled White House staff when Trump climbed into Marine One Friday afternoon, Aug. 4, for the helicopter ride to Andrews Air Force Base where Air Force One was waiting for him.

Presumably, First Lady Melania Trump would be joining him at some point. She probably needed more time to pack the dozen or so suitcases she would need for an almost three-week trip.

Of course, not everyone on the staff could rejoice, because Trump branded his lengthy golf outing as a “working vacation.” Quite a few subordinates, obviously, would be needed to assist him in performing that “work,” whatever that might entail.

The American public also needs a break from the daily drama unfolding in the White House during the first six months of Trump’s presidency. Two-thirds of the nation gets a headache every time Trump’s blond bouffant flashes across the television screen. A full 100 percent can’t believe their eyes or ears every day.

But one-third remains loyal. They blame Democrats and the media for the mixed messages and mass confusion that led to multiple firings, forced resignations and failed legislation.

Congress wisely ensured, before the Trump entourage departed, that the vacation work could not include the firing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller by proposing legislation to limit the president. Mueller, who is investigating the possibility that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, enraged the president by delving into Trump family finances and empanelling a grand jury.

Nor will Trump be able to make any appointments requiring congressional approval during the summer recess.

To be fair, Trump is riding a wave of enthusiasm among his supporters because unemployment is down, the stock market is booming and illegal border crossings are down. It’s unclear how much of that is a direct result of Trump winning the presidency, but we can give him at least some credit in that regard.

Just imagine what the national sentiment would be if those factors were going in opposite directions.

“So what if Trump (who constantly belittled President Barrack Obama for taking vacations and playing golf) frequently travels to his golf clubs in New Jersey and Florida?” his supporters ask.

Media reports claim he spent 30 percent of his first six months in office at his properties. Another report suggests that at his current rate of travel, Trump will spend more money traveling in his first year in office than Obama did in the eight years of his two terms.

At 71, Trump must be exhausted.

There are four official investigations underway — one by the FBI, two in the Senate and one in the House — as to whether Russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 election, as reported in an analysis by UPI’s Danielle Haynes, who lives and works in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Those investigations spawned another one into allegations Trump attempted to obstruct justice by firing FBI Director James Comey in May, she noted.

Then there is that messy business about Donald Trump Jr. taking a meeting with Russians representing Kremlin interests in 2016 in an alleged attempt to get dirt on Clinton and including campaign officials Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner in the gathering of eight people in Trump Tower in Manhattan.

From day one of the Trump presidency, trouble ensued as the Russian connection kept rising to the surface. His national security advisor, Michael Flynn, resigned because he allegedly misled Vice President Mike Pence about his interaction with a Russian ambassador. Later, to Trump’s chagrin, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any investigation regarding Russian election tampering because of his prominent 2016 campaign role.

By the time Trump brought in friend and Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci as communications director for a fiery, entertaining 11-day tenure, the White House was in freefall. Press Secretary Sean Spicer promptly resigned, and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus quickly followed suit.

Then Scaramucci, obviously feeling bullet-proof one night, called a writer for The New Yorker and launched into the raunchiest tirade imaginable in a failed attempt to learn the identities of White House leakers. Flash forward and Scaramucci exits the stage as the new Chief of Staff John Kelly gives him the boot.

And that’s what the Trump Administration is doing — staging a maniacal farce that will likely be studied by future generations of political historians as an example of what not to do.

From his failed travel ban targeting Muslims to his announcement he would order transgender people be banned from military service, our draft-dodger-in-chief has fornicated himself. Most of his woes appear to be either a direct result of his own words and actions or sparked in part by his bragging about his influence, such as those comments concerning his business dealings with Russians. Leaked transcripts of his telephone conferences with foreign leaders revealed his willingness to deceive Americans and his ineptness at diplomacy.

By the time Trump returns to the White House in late August, it will have been outfitted with a new air conditioning system. That could be a plus for a president who is prone to heated explosions.

If he can manage to quit tweeting for a little over two weeks, he might be able to get off to a fresh start. Of course, that’s all assuming that Trump’s warning this week to Kim Jong-un that “fire and fury” would be inflicted on North Korea if it continues to threaten the U.S. doesn’t get everyone incinerated in a nuclear war first.

Of course, the First Lady is the only one who might be able to hide his phone every night, and that would require her sleeping with him. Come on, do it for your adopted country, Melania.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 11, 2017.