How do you plan for the unplanned? That was the challenge for advance teams paving the way for the recent G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, and for President Donald Trump’s upcoming trip to Poland and, until recently, Denmark. That includes CQ Roll Call White House correspondent John T. Bennett, who helped plan press logistics for the trips, and was as surprised as anyone at the way things worked out.
From French President Emmanuel Macron keeping the camera-attentive Trump off guard all weekend at the G-7 to the planning for the president’s trip to Copenhagen going all for naught (because, as has been noted, Trump was miffed Denmark would not sell Greenland to the United States) to working with different countries on their own expectations for press access, an advance team’s work is never done, with this president or any other.
“There were times where we were all explaining to the host country that the president is going to summon the U.S. traveling pool. Be prepared. It might not be on the schedule. He’s going to request it. … This is the Trump show, and it is calibrated for television,” Bennett explains on the latest Political Theater podcast. It’s all part of stage-managing what he calls “The Trump Show on the Road.”