There was a layer of symbolism to Donald Trump's June 16 campaign announcement that might not have been obvious the day of the event. As is now legendary, Trump arrived at the lectern from which he would ramble his way into contention by escalator, riding down the shiny motorized stairway from the main lobby of Trump Tower into the food court below street level.
The symbolism? That this is how Trump would run his campaign: Heading downstairs from where he lives to engage with the electorate, then heading right back up.
If you've been paying any attention to Trump's campaign — which, of course you have been — you've probably noticed that you see him on television most often in two ways. Either he joins in by telephone or he is being interviewed in the now-unmistakable environs of the Trump Tower lobby. The slightly-out-of-focus crowds stand behind some shiny, gold-ish barrier in the distance, usually wielding their phones to capture blurry little videos of the celebrity across the way.
The upshot of this is that Trump has run a political campaign essentially without ever having left home. Even when he does leave, he usually makes it a day trip. When he went to the Iowa State Fair, he flew into Des Moines, flew to the fairgrounds, made his way through it and flew out that night. Same deal in Mobile, Ala., last week. Since his announcement, Trump has made 24 trips to states other than New York, according to the National Journal's candidate travel tracker. By comparison, Jeb Bush has made 46 trips and Hillary Clinton 41 over the same time period. Of course, Trump has his own plane, his own little jet-powered extension of Trump Tower, that makes day trips a bit easier.
But, again: Even when he stays in New York, Trump rarely leaves Trump Tower to do his campaign work. We tried to tally every phone and on-air television interview Trump has conducted since June 16, probably missing some. By our count, he's done 20 on-air interviews over the phone, meaning they could be from anywhere. He's done five from his offices at the top of Trump Tower, and 17 more from the lobby of the building. In other words: He's been on national television about as many times from his building (where he also lives) as he has been to other states to campaign. And that doesn't include the undoubtedly frequent phone interviews from his home.
Most of his trips have been to Iowa and New Hampshire, though he's also been to South Carolina twice. On Friday, he went to Massachusetts for the first time. Not pictured on the map above is his longest trip: when he flew to Scotland for a golf tournament. Not all of his travel has been campaign-related, even when he's traveled.
Who can complain? Nothing about Donald Trump's campaign has been traditional, up to and including the campaigning itself. If you can get elected president without having to regularly leave your great, luxurious New York penthouse apartment, why go out of your way to leave it?