National Security

Stop Freaking Out About Trump’s ‘Vacation’

“Right now, the White House is undergoing a major renovation, and President Trump needed to get out of the way for a bit.”

If you’re active on Facebook or other social media networks, you’ve probably seen posts and articles lambasting President Trump for his 17-day “vacation” to his private golf club in New Jersey. According to one narrative, Trump is just being lazy and doesn’t want to do the work.

Some people are even hunting down Trump’s old tweets.

However, the massive blow-up over Trump’s vacation simply misses the mark. Presidents frequently take “vacations” in August. Why? So that planned maintenance and upgrades to the White House can be completed. After Trump skips town, contractors will descend upon the White House to remove its aging heating and cooling system and install a new one.

The current HVAC system is about 27 years old and in need of a serious upgrade. The entire system will have to be torn out and replaced, and new carpet and paint will need to be put down in many places. As with anything regarding the White House, security will be tight and construction crews will have to be closely monitored.

Many staff members will be working temporarily out of the nearby Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The president would have been allocated space elsewhere in Washington, D.C., had he chosen to stay. However, owing to security concerns and the demands of the Highest Office, locating across town, or even across the street, can be near as much of a headache as relocating to Trump’s private club in New Jersey.

Many presidents chose to take vacations in August. It’s not just to enjoy some summer fun; Congress is also out of session, and many civil employees are also enjoying vacation time. Meanwhile, when presidents skip town, it gives contractors the needed time and space to undertake major renovation projects.

Ultimately, the mainstream media and social media outbursts regarding Trump’s vacation are simply misplaced. The same could be said of former President Barack Obama and his vacations. While Obama was frequently lambasted for taking time away from the White House, often there was good reason for doing so, such as giving contractors time to complete work.

Besides, presidents are never really on vacation; they just change scenery and perhaps hold fewer meetings. The Highest Office is a 24/7 type of job.

The White House is Old People

The White House is old. After construction began in 1792, the first White House was completed by 1800 but was later burned down when the British invaded Washington during the war of 1812. It was then rebuilt. Over the years, it has been expanded, upgraded, and rehabbed numerous times.

There’s a whole history to the White House. Once upon a time, the third floor of the Executive Residence was an attic where servants lived. The famous West Wing, meanwhile, was built in 1902 and was originally intended to be a temporary structure while renovation work on the Executive Residence was completed. The current Press Room, by the way, was once an indoor pool.

Being an old building and having undergone extensive renovations countless times, it’s often necessary to patch up previous work or upgrade aging systems. That’s simply the nature of the beast. In many senses, work on updating and upgrading the White House never really ends, but instead simply goes through different stages.

Right now, the White House is undergoing a major renovation, and President Trump needed to get out of the way for a bit.

Brian Brinker

Brian Brinker is an OpsLens Contributor and political consultant. Brinker has an M.A in Global Affairs from American University.

Join the conversation!

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.