Last week it was a sudden unannounced weekend visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Speculation that Donald Trump had suffered from some sort of impeachment stress-related medical emergency immediately began circulating before White House aides dismissed the visit as just part of a routine physical.
This week, however, a report on Politico that Trump has largely retreated from the Oval Office to spend most of his time in the presidential personal quarters in the White House has sent the rumor mill spinning furiously.
The Politico article largely attributes Trump’s new penchant for seclusion to his desire to avoid “meddling by his staff” and find a place to be more productive without the interruptions of solicitous underlings whom he has grown to distrust as a source of his “omnipresent fear of leaks to the media.”
“The Oval presents itself as historic and it gives off a sense of power, but the residence has a sense of exclusivity,” said a former senior administration official, describing Trump’s affinity for conducting business there. “He works more in the residence because he is not constrained there by staffers knocking on the door,” the Politico article quotes.
It must be incredibly annoying for the president to have his much cherished “executive time” interrupted while he’s in the middle of watching fawning coverage of his greatness on Fox and Friends.
Politico credits Trump’s increasing isolation in his private quarters to more than just a desire to avoid the casual scrutiny of his behavior by White House aides whom he no longer trusts. Trump’s desire to remain in environments that he can completely control — whether it be at one of his own resorts, a restaurant in one of his hotels, or at a carefully-vetted invitation-only rally — is cited as the reason the president has gained the reputation of being a homebody.
The article provoked a range of reactions in the Twittersphere from suspicions that his isolation was an indication of health problems that the White House was trying to conceal — either physical or mental — to incredulity that he did anything but watch TV and call his wealthy friends and donors all day to speculation that any calls to foreign authoritarian leaders such as Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un could be more easily concealed in Trump’s personal residence.
Or his physical state. In elderly patients, loss of mobility is often the harbinger of a rapid decline in health.
— Alfred O Marble (@CB09) November 24, 2019
Whatever the real reasons behind the president’s retreat to the confines of his quarters, the public can be grateful that the nation’s streets are safer with one less criminal out walking them. Being confined to a restricted area is also quite good practice for any eventual prison stay that Trump may ultimately be subjected to if he is ever held accountable for the many already detailed infractions of the law for which he is responsible.
Now if his handlers would only take away the Twitter access, cut the cable news feed, and close the blinds, the rest of the nation can spend their own days considerably more productively without the constant sense of foreboding that Trump’s residency in the White House typically engenders on any given day.
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Original reporting by Nancy Cook at Politico.