Trump refuses to go to the mountaintop fortress of Masada in Israel unless he can land by helicopter.
Donald Trump’s first foreign trip as president doesn’t start until Friday, but it’s already suffered a few setbacks.
He’s supposed to stop in Israel during his four-country, nine-day trip. But already his plan to visit and give a speech atop the ancient mountaintop fortress of Masada has been scrapped. Why? Because he won’t be allowed to land his helicopter on the site, Newsweek reported.
The UNESCO World Heritage site can be damaged so landings are banned. Trump was set to take a cable car to the top, like visiting U.S. presidents before him have done, like George W. Bush in 2008 and Bill Clinton in 1998, according to the Jerusalem Post.
But Trump doesn’t do cable cars apparently, so the Masada visit is canceled and instead he’s speaking at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, according to Newsweek.
McMaster Planned speech Trump at Masada has been struck from the itinerary. @WhiteHouse spokesman as due to it being “too hot” there. pic.twitter.com/b5jvwhuGmN
— Hans Posthumus (@Tuinier) May 17, 2017
Also while in Israel, local media was reporting complicated logistical details including only 15 minutes allotted for Trump’s visit to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Remembrance Museum in Jerusalem. Apparently this is enough time for a quick talk and to sign the guest book.
As the Jewish news publication Forward asked, "Is 15 minutes enough time for Trump at Yad Vashem?"
Another opportunity with lots of terrible potential is a speech Trump is planning to give about radical Islam in Saudi Arabia. The speech writer is none other than his policy adviser Stephen Miller. He’s credited as one of the chief architects of Trump’s failed travel ban to keep people from Muslim-majority nations out of the U.S. He also has a strong history of anti-Muslim rhetoric and beliefs.
Stephen Miller wrote Trump’s Islam speech. What could possibly go wrong?
— John Paul Keith (@johnpaulkeith) May 17, 2017
"Let’s have Stephen Miller draft Trump’s speech to the Muslim world" sums up the problems with this Administration’s decision making.
— Steve Zissou (@SteveZiss0u) May 17, 2017
Also joining Trump overseas is first lady Melania Trump. We haven’t seen the Trumps together in a long time, so this will be … exciting.
Topping this all off is the fact that Trump doesn’t even want to go on the trip. The New York Times reported that he thinks the trip is too long and he doesn’t want to be away from a familiar setting — and his own bed.
His aides are apparently freaking out about the president going off script, walking into unfamiliar territory or making promises to foreign leaders that he can’t keep.
A former national security adviser to George W. Bush said for relationship-building overseas trips like Trump’s, "You really hope that he sticks to the script, executes the trip as planned and avoids distractions, because the whole world is watching."
Welp, it’s not like Trump ever spontaneously says offensive things or gets distracted, so, um, this should end well.