Trump ran away to Camp David, leaving behind senior advisers and his family while he claimed to be involved in important meetings.
After he bungled dealing with Iran and lied about the proposed military response, Trump escaped to Camp David over the weekend for what he said would be meetings and important work — but there's no evidence that he actually met with anyone or did any work.
When he left the White House on Saturday, Trump told reporters he was going to Camp David for "a series of meetings and calls" so he could "focus on Iran and what's going to come next," CNN's Kaitlan Collins reported on Monday.
"I am at Camp David working on many things, including Iran!" Trump tweeted on Saturday.
But Collins noted that Trump left for the presidential retreat without any senior policy aides, members of the Cabinet, of even White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.
The White House press office declined to give reporters readouts of any calls with key officials or leaders related to Iran, and CNN noted Trump didn't even bring communications staff with him.
"The president's family did not join him at Camp David either," Collins reported. Instead, Trump was "surrounded by a slew of junior aides."
The highest ranking aide to accompany Trump was loyalist Dan Scavino, who runs his Twitter feed.
Over the weekend when he was supposed to be doing important work, Trump tweeted to promote a pro-Trump book, a video clip of a supporter, and his Time magazine cover. He also defended his sloppy handling of the Iran situation and claimed he had called off his plan to have ICE conduct mass roundups and arrests of immigrants.
Trump's weekend escape followed a series of public stumbles on the global stage.
While American fighter jets were still in the air, Trump called off a planned bombing of Iranian sites in retaliation for shooting down an unmanned drone.
Justifying his haphazard actions in an interview with NBC on Friday, Trump claimed that the military had neglected to make an assessment of possible Iranian casualties, and that he was the only one in the chain of command to do so.
Subsequent reporting showed that Trump's version of events was made up, and that Pentagon lawyers had come up with a figure of possibly 150 casualties from a strike.
The mismanaged episode came just days after Trump's pick to lead the Department of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, withdrew his nomination amidst reports of domestic violence.
After the resignation of Jim Mattis in December, there hasn't been a permanent secretary of defense since Jan. 1, 2019, or 173 days — the longest such gap in American history.
Facing those troubles in Washington, Trump escaped to Camp David — away from his family and advisers, but with his trusty Twitter guru.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.