Appreciate simplicity of Camp David

President Donald Trump’s style is different. In many ways he seems determined to redefine the presidency. In doing so he may give his successors new tools to deal with both domestic and foreign policy.

Let us hope he recognizes the value of some of the old, well-worn tools, too.

Trump, first lady Melania, their son, Barron and her parents recently tried out Camp David. They went to the presidential retreat in Maryland’s Catoctin Mountains last Saturday. Trump himself returned to the White House Sunday.

Accustomed to relaxing in plush big-city hotels and pricey golf resorts such as his Mar-a-Lago in Florida, Trump seems to have little use for the rustic country life. Earlier this year, he told a group of reporters Camp David is “very rustic … You know how long you’d like it? For about 30 minutes.”

Camp David is a simple, no-frills place in the woods, far from the hustle and bustle that seems to be Trump’s lifeblood. It is that very quality that seems to have made the mountain retreat a place where history has been made many times.

Some of Trump’s predecessors have found the quiet solitude of Camp David just the thing for getting important things done without distractions. President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill reviewed plans for D-Day there. President Jimmy Carter found Camp David just the place to convince the leaders of Israel and Egypt to change their countries’ relationship.

David, in short, has proven to be much more than a presidential getaway precisely because it is a getaway.

Let us hope Trump comes to realize the place’s value. More important, he should ensure Camp David, which reportedly has not enjoyed all the maintenance work it needed over the years, is kept in good repair.

One never knows what world leader might like the place for more than 30 minutes.


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