The Washington Post: Trump, in a tweet, gives voice to unspoken truth about presidential travel
President Trump has reveled in smashing political precedent, but on Thursday he followed his White House predecessors in one of Washington’s usually unspoken traditions: blurring the lines between a campaign trip and official business. Jetting aboard Air Force One for a quick day trip to western Pennsylvania, Trump delivered a 25-minute speech at a heavy equipment manufacturing company. Though aides touted the visit to the facility in Coraopolis as a chance for Trump to promote his legislative agenda, an ulterior motive was not so thoroughly disguised.
“Where the gray area is in the formula is that we do not know what Air Force One costs,” said Lawrence Noble, general counsel at the Campaign Legal Center. “They’re not required to charge the cost of Secret Service, but they are for everybody else who travels for campaign reasons. That’s hard to decipher.” Noble, the ethics lawyer, said Trump’s tweet resided in a gray area of the law. “Is the tweet enough?” Noble said, speaking in an interview before Trump’s remarks. “If he gives a policy speech, the tweet is not enough. If he starts talking about the candidate, with the tweet, it could be.”