Despite calls from at least one member of Democratic leadership for President Obama to reel in his fundraising trips amid global tension, the White House said he has no plans to do so. Press secretary Josh Earnest confirmed to reporters that the president will still go on his three-day trip to the West Coast this week.
Earnest asserted that President Obama is tuned in to domestic and international affairs when he travels, and will be kept informed by his staff as well. He kept the door open to the possibility that the president would be willing to cut his trip short if need be.
“If it becomes clear that there’s a need for him to come back to the White House to fulfill those functions, then we’ll make a change in his schedule,” Earnest said. “Right now, it is not apparent that is the case.”
Earnest also said “it was not” a mistake for the president to stop and eat at the local burger joint Charcoal Pit shortly after news of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 broke, and it was not inappropriate for him to continue with his planned campaign-style speech in Delaware calling for more infrastructure spending. President Obama briefly touched on the news at the top of his remarks before moving on to some friendly quips and a prepared speech.
“What the president is focused on is his ability to do his job,” Earnest said, noting that the president made calls to various officials over the course of the day. “If there were a requirement for the president to change his schedule so that he could attend to this urgent priority and fulfill his responsibilities as commander-in-chief, we would have not hesitated to make this change.”