Trump Spending Easter Weekend At Mar-A-Lago
LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
Good morning. After a series of provocative statements and saber-rattling, North Koreans launched a ballistic missile early this morning. It apparently exploded within seconds of launch. The failed missile test comes as Vice President Mike Pence's 10-day trip to Asia begins. But President Trump received the news at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Julie Hirschfeld Davis covers the White House for The New York Times. She's part of the press pool who accompanied the president this weekend to Palm Beach. Good morning, Julie.
JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS: Good morning, Lulu.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So what have you heard from the White House about the failed North Korean missile test?
DAVIS: Well, an official who was traveling with the vice president gave reporters a little bit of a glimpse into the situation earlier today before he landed in Seoul. Essentially, he said that the United States had good intelligence both before and after the launch, which is interesting because, as we know, my colleagues have reported that the United States military has a covert program underway to try and disrupt these launches. There's no word, of course, on whether that happened. But by saying that, it did suggest that at least they had the information they would have needed to do that. He also said the president has a wide range of, you know, military, diplomatic, other options, in front of him for responding, if he chooses to do that, but also, you know, suggested that since this was another failure, there may not be any need to respond right now.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I'd like to turn to President Trump and Mar-a-Lago. Given all that's going on, did senior White House staff or national security officials join him on this trip?
DAVIS: Well, it was striking. On the way down on Air Force One, we didn't see any senior staff at all, national security or otherwise. We subsequently learned that K.T. McFarland, who's a National Security Council staffer - or official - did come down and is on hand at Mar-a-Lago. But it is unusual with so much going on in the world that there wouldn't be some senior national security folks with the president.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Is there any sense that the lack of senior staff has anything to do with the reports of infighting at senior levels of the administration?
DAVIS: I think the suggestion is really that the president wanted to take a quiet weekend with family for the holiday and wanted his staff to be able to do the same thing. That's what we're told, that this doesn't really have anything to do with the infighting. But of course, there is a lot of drama behind the scenes, so we're in a period where any time an official is seen with the president or not seen with the president, a lot gets read into it.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. I'd also like to talk about Easter and the Easter Egg Roll, which you reported on. That's happening tomorrow morning. You said the run-up had been chaotic. Do they seem ready now?
DAVIS: They do seem ready. It seems like they have - you know, having not been very organized and been sort of behind schedule in planning it, what they did was really scale back the size of the event. So there's going to be about 20,000 people down from almost 40,000 people last year. They didn't have - they don't - haven't booked any, you know, big A-list entertainment. It's family bands and military bands. But it does seem like they are going to put it on. It's going to come off, and hopefully, it will be fun for the kids. I just think it will be a lot less elaborate than what we've seen in the recent past.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Julie Hirschfeld Davis. She reports on the White House for The New York Times. Julie, thanks so much.
DAVIS: Thanks for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.