Trump steps back from the spotlight amid storm of allegations

President Donald Trump, the man who has come to love holding court on television and relished the art of the photo op...

Posted: Mar 28, 2018 11:23 PM
Updated: Mar 28, 2018 11:23 PM

President Donald Trump, the man who has come to love holding court on television and relished the art of the photo op, has remained out of sight for much of this week as allegations about a sexual relationship with a porn star play out on national television.

Trump has not held a public event at the White House at all this week and spent Saturday and Sunday at his private club in Mar-a-Lago behind closed doors or inside the protected confines of his golf course. This means that although he's been active on Twitter, he hasn't had to face reporters' questions about the ongoing saga playing out on cable news.

Trump's first 15 months in office have been in part defined by his frequent on-camera events inside the White House, with the President sometimes allowing extensive media access to meetings and debates even to the surprise of his guests.

But over the last three workdays, the White House has instead held a series of closed meetings.

Trump on Wednesday is scheduled to host a credentialing ceremony for newly appointed ambassadors before they are dispatched to their foreign posts. Then he will have lunch with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. On Tuesday, Trump received his daily intelligence briefings and signed an education proclamation before meeting with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and later heading to a private residence in Virginia for a dinner with supporters.

All of this happened off-camera, with journalists only getting glances of Trump when he left the White House.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders dismissed questions about why the President has spent the last few days behind close doors.

"Look, the President has got a major speech tomorrow," Sanders said. "He has been incredibly active all week long. We have taken major actions in trade negotiations, as well as expelling intel officers from Russia out of the country this week."

She added: "There have been a number of major things that the President has taken action on and been engaged on and he is giving a major speech tomorrow."

Trump travels to the Cleveland suburb of Richfield, Ohio, for an event Thursday on the need for infrastructure reform.

But the last on-camera event Trump hosted was his signing of the budget measure, where he slammed the agreement and pledged not to sign another like it.

On Tuesday, Sanders defended the President's silence on allegations leveled against him by Stormy Daniels, a porn actress whose accusations of an affair with the then-businessman have dominated national news over the last several days. Sanders said Tuesday that while the President is a "counter-puncher," he doesn't necessarily punch back at every story.

It is not abnormal for Trump to be silent over the weekend, especially when he is shuttling between his opulent Palm Beach club and his private golf club nearby. But Trump has remained mum on Daniels ever since her story has emerged on the public scene.

This is not the first time Trump has stayed behind closed doors. Trump stayed off-camera for over five days in May 2017, turning to Twitter as his only venue for public comment.

Trump, more than his predecessors, rarely went a day early in his administration without inviting the media into a meeting with top business leaders or to a signing ceremony for an executive order. Top White House aides even bragged about media access to the President.

"This is a President, when it comes to accessibility and allowing the press access, I've heard from several of you (that) we've gone above and beyond allowing the press into events into sprays," then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in April 2017. "We've had greater access."

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