One of the majestic aspects of the American presidency over the last fifty years or so has been Air Force One. Regardless of where you fall politically or whether or not you like any given president, the idea of traveling across continents, meeting world leaders and seeing famous landmarks you only thought you’d dream about, seems like more than enough to justify working in the White House.
It’s not uncommon for staffers to fight over who gets to travel with the president and see the Taj Mahal or meet the Pope on state visits. According to recent reports, that no longer happens in the Trump administration. Rather than vying for who gets to fly on Air Force One, Trump staffers try to avoid flying with Donald Trump – particularly on longer flights overseas.
The story leaked shortly before Donald Trump departed on Friday for a trip to Japan honoring the new Japanese emperor. One official went so far as to compare an overseas flight with Donald Trump to being in prison. All the channels stream Fox News continuously, Trump rarely sleeps more than five hours a night in his private cabin, and he has been known to frequently wake staffers, often when there’s a new, unflattering news story about him.
Regardless of where they happen to be, in the Oval Office or flying over an ocean, Donald Trump demands his staff come up with a quick way to spin the story in a favorable light. Often, he uses his time on board to come up with his Twitter responses. Staffers also leaked that Trump is uncomfortable with traveling to other countries, particularly when he isn’t the guest of honor – largely because he has much less control over the news cycle when he’s not at home. This is why his reaction following the Kim Jong-Un summit was particularly ugly. During the summer, Trump is expected to fly a total of 36,000 miles – two trips each to both Europe and Japan – we’ll see if they still happen, and how effectively the meetings go, as the news from home for Donald Trump continues to get worse.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making