In the latest of several policy reversals since his presidential campaign, Donald Trump is tired.
During the 2016 presidential election, one of Trump’s prominent attacks on Hillary Clinton was that Clinton lacked the “stamina” to be president. Clinton pointed out that during her time as secretary of state, she had traveled to 112 countries and later spent 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee.
Yesterday, on the second day of Trump’s first foreign trip, in nation No. 1, the White House press office said that Trump was “exhausted,” which had caused him to make an offensive gaffe to an audience of Saudi Arabian leaders and made it necessary for him to drop out of a counterterrorism event.
In a speech to Saudi leaders, Trump used the term “Islamic terrorism” instead of “Islamist terrorism,” thereby attributing violent acts to an entire religion and not a more radical sect within.
“There is still much work to be done,” Trump said. “That means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamic extremism and the Islamists and Islamic terror of all kinds.”
A senior White House official said that “Islamist extremism” was in the text of the speech and Trump had conflated the terms. “Just an exhausted guy,” the official said. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the president spent the 14-hour flight from Washington editing the speech and reading newspapers.
When asked about the president’s energy level, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters Monday, “He’s doing better than I am. And he’s got a few years on me.” And Tillerson had the night before participated in a vigorous dance, holding a sword, with Saudi leaders.
While the president recharged, his daughter Ivanka spoke in his stead in an event on “tweeps,” delivering a three-minute speech about youth combating terrorism on social media.
During the presidential campaign, Trump dispatched rival Jeb Bush in part by declaring he was “low energy.” Since taking office, he referred to “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd as “Sleepy Eyes.”