The Washington Post published a rather detailed article Tuesday night based on one question: Why did President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump take a motorcade 250 yards between the White House and the presidential guest quarters when they visited the Bush family, instead of just walking?
The headline of the post, written by David Nakamura, was “President Trump traveled 250 yards to greet George W. Bush. He used a stretch limo and an eight-vehicle motorcade to make the trip.”
The article is full of speculation and veiled implication that the Trumps were being wasteful by using the motorcade for this purpose, and quoted some former Obama administration officials — one who said presidents have made the walk in the past, and another who joked that the president might be suffering from bone spurs, a derogatory reference to Trump’s deferment from the Vietnam war draft.
The report broke down the specific route the motorcade took and the number of vehicles involved (eight), and stoked speculation “about why the Trumps were unable — or unwilling — to simply walk across the street.”
As it turns out, the answer likely had little to do with any laziness or unwillingness on the part of the Trumps. And an explanation defending the Trumps came from an unlikely source: Former first lady Michelle Obama’s recent book.
Phillip Cohen, an author and a sociologist, pulled the relevant excerpt from the book and posted it on Twitter. Here’s what Obama wrote:
“If Barack or I had a meeting in Blair House, located just across an already closed-off part of Pennsylvania Avenue, they’d (Secret Service) sometimes request that we take the motorcade instead of walking in the fresh air. We respected the watchfulness, but it could feel like a form of confinement.”
In fairness to Nakamura, he did mention near the end that Obama sometimes used the motorcade for short trips. But that acknowledgement raises the question of why Trump’s usage was newsworthy at all.