Donald Trump 100 days: One promise the U.S. president has kept
As U.S. President Donald Trump marks 100 days in office, the 45th president has kept his word on at least one thing: staying close to home and cutting back on foreign travel.
Over the course of Trump’s first three months in office, he has hosted a slew of foreign leaders at the White House and at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
Unlike his predecessors, however, Trump has not made an international trip within the first 100 days in office.
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In 2009, Barack Obama made his first trip outside of the U.S. on Feb. 19 to meet with then prime minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa. In 2001, George W. Bush met with the Mexican president on Feb. 16, while Bill Clinton visited Vancouver on April 3, 1993.
Late in Trump’s campaign, the future president said he was going to stick close to home to “fix” America.
“To be honest with you, this country is in such bad trouble, our infrastructure is crumbling, our bridges, our airports,” Trump told British newspaper The Independent. “We are in such trouble that I am going to spend a lot of time here … we are going to fix our country.”
Trump isn’t expected to travel until late May when he will attend a NATO meeting in Brussels.
According to a CNN report in March, Trump told his advisers to plan on a light foreign trip schedule so the president can focus on issues at home. According to the report, Trump cited a home-field advantage in meeting with leaders at the White House as opposed to on foreign soil.
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The president faced some criticism for planned foreign visits. British Prime Minister Theresa May had invited Trump for a state visit in the summer, but the trip was reportedly postponed following protests in the U.K. over the proposed visit.
The White House re-iterated Trump’s campaign comments about staying home to focus on domestic issues.
“Every time you travel, you’re eating up a big chunk of the day, so you have to be really strategic about it,” Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, told the New York Times earlier this month. “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.”
“The pace of his schedule has been non-stop,” Spicer told the newspaper.
However, as one University of Toronto political science professor suggests, perhaps an explanation for Trump’s lack of foreign travel may be the result of troubles at home.
“Usually, in advance of high-level visits by the president, many lower-level details about the trip or the rationale for the trip are figured out in advance by the U.S Department of State,” Renan Levine explained in an email to Global News. “One must wonder if the president’s inability to fill dozens of high-level state department positions has impeded the ability of the U.S. Department of State to complete the ‘usual’ preparations before a presidential visit to a foreign country or to determine what foreign issues require presidential intervention and involvement.”
On Wednesday, Trump said he wasn’t in a rush to fill the many vacant senior positions in the State Department, suggesting the government can survive with the vacancies.
“We don’t need so many people coming to work,” Trump told the Washington Examiner. “When they say about putting people in, there are so many jobs in Washington, we don’t want so many jobs. You don’t need all of those people.”
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