WASHINGTON -- President Trump arrived Thursday morning in France at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron, leaving behind a chaotic situation in Washington.
Mr. Trump, who'd made no public appearances this week, insisted on Twitter Wednesday morning that the White House was "functioning perfectly." But as he and First Lady Melania Trump departed to commemorate Bastille Day and mark 100 years since the U.S. entered World War I, Mr. Trump left behind a tumultuous.
On Twitter, the president has defended his eldest son and conveyed an upbeat tone aftershowing he seemingly welcomed Russian government-connected information that could damage Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2016. But privately, the Associated Press has reported, the latest Russia development, directing most of his ire at the media, rather than at his eldest son.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted Wednesday that the president wasn't being secretive or hiding from the public, and has simply been engrossed in meetings with his staff and key figures about important policy issues. But questions about Trump Jr. and Russia aren't likely to die down just because the president is abroad.
Accompanying the president and the first lady to France are chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, chief of staff Reince Priebus, and H.R. McMaster, the president's national security adviser. The president's social media director, Dan Scavino Jr., and Sanders are also joining the president on his trip.
On Thursday, Mr. Trump is scheduled to have lunch with American military commanders, then join Macron for a tour of the French Military Museum. After meeting the French president, the two leaders are scheduled to hold a joint press conference. In the evening, Mr. Trump and the first lady will have dinner with Macron and his wife. On Saturday, Mr. Trump is scheduled to attend France's Bastille Day celebration.
The first event for Mrs. Trump on Thursday was a visit to Necker Hospital, one of France's oldest health institutions, founded in 1778, and a landmark children's hospital in the country.