December 02, 2018

‘Twists but no plot’: Trump’s diminishing foreign travel reflects a president scaling back foreign ambition

Featuring Richard Fontaine

Source: The Washington Post

Journalists David Nakamura, John Hudson

After midterm elections in which their party loses political power in Washington, American presidents have traditionally used foreign travel to change the subject and more easily flex their executive muscle.

But in the wake of the Republicans’ electoral setback last month, President Trump has, once again, eschewed tradition.

Trump returned to Washington on Sunday after a relatively subdued two-day visit to the Group of 20 summitin Buenos Aires, where he announced modest breakthroughs on trade but chose to avoid provocative meetings with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

His performance — coupled with his listless two-day visit to Paris days after the midterms, during which he skipped a visit to an American cemetery and appeared isolated from other world leaders — has created the impression of a president scaling back his ambitions on the world stage amid mounting political crises.

Read the full article and more in The Washington Post.


  • Richard Fontaine

    Chief Executive Officer

    Richard Fontaine is the Chief Executive Officer of CNAS. He served as President of CNAS from 2012–19 and as Senior Fellow from 2009–12. Prior to CNAS, he was foreign policy ad...