Mired in scandal at home, Trump is looking for any good press he can get. There was some hope among his staff that his first international trip as president – which includes stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel, Belgium, and Italy – would make him seem more presidential.
Of course, mere days before his departure, more damning details emerged regarding Trump and ongoing investigations into his administration’s relationship with Russian intelligence. Sources close to the White House probe confirmed that someone actually inside the administration (as opposed to previous or fired staff members) has become a “person of interest.” Further leaks revealed that this individual is most likely the nepotistically appointed son-in-law Jared Kushner. Furthermore, official transcripts of Trump’s now infamous meeting with Russian officials – during which he divulged top secret intelligence – show that he described fired FBI Director James Comey as a “nut job” and argued that with him out of the picture, the administration would experience less scrutiny for is shading dealings.
The move to fire Comey, of course, appears to have had the exact opposite effect, with the emergence of Bob Mueller as special prosecutor appointed by the DOJ.
But any hope that Trump could reclaim the semblance of a presidential statesman was further diminished by his childish behavior leading up to the trip abroad. He apparently dreaded it, and requested that the trip be rolled back from nine days to five. He also cancelled an appearance at a historical site near Masada in Israel after local officials denied his request to land a helicopter atop an ancient fort. Faced with the prospect of using a cable car like everybody else (including past US presidents), Trump was evidently more inclined to drop the event altogether.
Another embarrassing component to the trip consists of the precautions that foreign officials are taking in order to accommodate the uninformed Trump, whose short-attention span has led White House staffers to keep memos brief while introducing the flailing president’s name as often as possible, which – in a confirmation of his pathological narcissism – supposedly keeps his attention. NATO officials are purportedly taking similiar steps, striving to keep individual conversations short and avoid major issues for fear of one of Trump’s knee-jerk, ill-informed decisions on matters of grave importance.
Word has also just broke than an irate Netanyahu has ordered various ministers in his government to attend the forthcoming reception with Trump, as many planned on skipping out. Officials were going to shirk the event after Trump – in his hallmark, unstatesman-like manner – requested that the festivities be shortened to include only the two countries’ national anthems. This, of course, comes on the heels of the bombshell revelation that Trump divulged highly classified secrets obtained by Israeli intelligence to the Russians.
Trump and his team are hoping for a reset. But as Politico reports, politicians and leaders overseas are openly talking about how their nations view Trump as a “laughingstock.” Ultimately, this foreign trip will only confirm his unpresidential character while his state-side troubles continue to worsen, dampening hopes for a full four-year tenure in the White House.