WASHINGTON — When President Donald Trump sits down for dinner in Saudi Arabia, caterers have ensured that his favorite meal - steak with a side of ketchup - will be offered alongside the traditional local cuisine.
At NATO and the Group of 7 summits, foreign delegations have gotten word that the new U.S. president prefers short presentations and lots of visual aids. And at all of Trump's five stops on his first overseas trip, his team has spent weeks trying to build daily downtime into his otherwise jam-packed schedule.
It's all part of a worldwide effort to accommodate America's homebody president on a voyage with increasingly raised stakes given the ballooning controversy involving his campaign's possible ties to Russia. For a former international businessman, Trump simply doesn't have an affinity for much international.
Even before Trump's trip morphed from a quick jaunt to Europe into a nine-day behemoth, White House aides were on edge about how the president would take to grueling pressures of foreign travel: the time zone changes, the unfamiliar hotels, the local delicacies. Two officials said they feared that a difficult trip might even lead the president to hand off future traveling duties to Vice President Mike Pence.
Trump's final itinerary hardly eases him into the delicate world of international diplomacy on foreign soil. After departing Friday on an overnight flight on Air Force One, Trump will hopscotch from Saudi Arabia to Israel to the Vatican. He'll close his trip with a pair of summits in Brussels and Sicily, often-staid affairs that require leaders to be locked in lengthy plenary sessions.
"The chance of something going wrong - you insult the hosts, you get sick, your boss gets sick, you miscommunicate with your hosts, you make a scheduling error, you need to change the schedule just hours before a meeting, the motorcade get stuck in traffic, or the plane is stranded due to bad weather - is extremely high," said Julianne Smith, who served as a foreign policy adviser to Vice President Joe Biden and is now a senior fellow at the Center for New American Security.
"Personally, I think they should cut it back now before they regret it," she said of Trump's long jaunt.
The trip marks the first time since taking office that Trump has spent a night away from the White House at a property that doesn't bear his name. And it's not just the bragging rights Trump gets when he goes to his own properties: Staffers know his meal preferences and the exact temperature he likes a room set at. He's often surrounded by long-time friends and acquaintances who have memberships to the commander in chief-owned retreats.
The only overnight trip Trump took abroad as a candidate was to mark the opening of a new golf resort in Scotland. He led journalists on a roving tour of the course and said his property would benefit if Britain's currency tanked following its decision to leave the European Union. He also made a daytrip to Mexico.
The stakes will be far higher as President Trump makes his debut on the international stage. He's the first president since Jimmy Carter to not travel abroad during his first 100 days in office. And he'll depart under a cloud of controversy, much of it of his own making, including the White House's botched handling of FBI Director James Comey's firing.
Upcoming meeting to explore 4G wireless technology
Santa Rosa and Verizon are holding a series of meetings in coming weeks to allay concerns about its network of 4G “small cell” wireless antenna equipment being installed on utility poles around the city.
The four joint Verizon/city meetings will take place:
— Monday, Feb. 26, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 637 First St.
— Saturday, March 3, from 10 a.m. to noon at Veteran’s Memorial Building, 1351 Maple Ave.
— Thursday, March 8, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Veteran’s Memorial Building, 1351 Maple Ave.
— Saturday, March 10, from 10 a.m. to noon, at Veteran’s Memorial Building, 1351 Maple Ave.
In addition the City Council is planning to hold a study session on the issue Tuesday, March 6, beginning at 3 p.m. at City Hall, 100 Santa Rosa Ave.