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Staying Away

Trump Not Planning on Charlottesville Trip; ‘Why The Hell Would We Do That?’ Aides Say

The administration sees no upside and some potential downside from visiting the site of this past weekend’s violent protests.

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Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

President Donald Trump does not have plans to visit Charlottesville, Virginia in the wake of the the white-supremacist and neo-Nazi gathering that took place in the city over the weekend.

“No stop planned at this time,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders emailed The Daily Beast on Monday afternoon.

The president is still technically on vacation, though he decamped back to Washington D.C. on Monday.  

Though presidents are often hypersensitive towards appearing to be on top of national crises, it is not entirely surprising that the president is currently passing on a trip to Charlottesville. On Monday, Trump finally, and specifically, called out white supremacists and white nationalists in prepared remarks from the White House, after days of brutal, bipartisan criticism for his initial, response that chided “many sides.” Two senior Trump aides, speaking on the condition of anonymity in order to speak freely, had earlier told The Daily Beast that there was no serious sign that West Wing staffers were even exploring a Charlottesville visit at this point.

“Why the hell would we do that?” one White House official bluntly said, stating that whatever the president did in Charlottesville at this stage would be “used against” him by critics and media voices. The official also conceded that it was unlikely that this president would be able to deliver rousing, healing oratory that is demanded in such a dire situation. Trump, the fear went, could potentially worsen matters by being there.

Michael Signer, the Democratic mayor of Charlottesville who publicly criticized Trump in the aftermath of the attack, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story. But he has been critical of Trump in the aftermath of the weekend’s violence.

"Old saying: When you dance with the devil, the devil doesn't change—the devil changes you," Signer said of President Trump on NBC's Meet The Press on Sunday. On the day of the attack, the mayor said that he hopes the president “looks himself in the mirror and thinks very deeply about who he consorted with.”