WASHINGTON — President Trump left for France Wednesday night at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron, leaving behind a chaotic situation in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Trump, who has made no public appearances this week, insisted on Twitter Wednesday morning that the White House is “functioning perfectly.” But as he and first lady Melania Trump depart to commemorate Bastille Day and mark 100 years since the U.S. entered World War I, Mr. Trump leaves behind a tumultuous scene at the White House.
On Twitter, the president has defended his eldest son and conveyed an upbeat tone after Donald Trump Jr. released emails showing he seemingly welcomed Russian government-connected information that could damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016. But privately, the Associated Press has reported, the president has raged against the latest Russia development, directing most of his ire at the media, rather than at his eldest son.
Sanders on Wednesday insisted the president wasn’t being secretive or hiding from the public, and has simply been engrossed in meetings with his staff and key figures about important policy issues. But questions about Trump Jr. and Russia aren’t likely to die down just because the president is abroad.
Accompanying the president and the first lady to France are chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, chief of staff Reince Priebus, and H.R. McMaster, the president’s national security adviser. The president’s social media director, Dan Scavino Jr., and Sanders are also joining the president on his trip.
On Thursday, Mr. Trump is scheduled to have lunch with American military commanders, then join Macron for a tour of the French Military Museum. After meeting with the French president, the two leaders are scheduled to hold a joint press conference. In the evening, Mr. Trump and the first lady will have dinner with Macron and his wife. On Saturday, Mr. Trump is scheduled to attend France’s Bastille Day celebration.