Scan the headlines this week, and Donald Trump is everywhere. Scan his campaign schedule, and he is . . . nowhere.
The front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination has barreled through the past few months at a breakneck pace, crisscrossing the country in his private plane staging one boisterous rally after another.
Not this week.
His last day on the trail was Monday, when he delivered a foreign policy speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference. His next public campaign event is not until Tuesday afternoon in Wisconsin — which votes April 5 — meaning that he will have gone seven full days without any campaign events.
Although the candidate has remained active launching Twitter attacks on rivals while vacationing in Florida, his absence on the trail is a notable departure from his hectic schedule around high-stakes elections in the South and the Midwest this month. His campaign regularly hosted several events a day and hopped between states each night.
The downtime comes after weeks of negative press centered on volatile, sometimes-violent clashes between protesters and his supporters at campaign rallies around the country.
“This was always planned, and we look forward to being in Wisconsin,” campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said when asked whether the schedule was light because of the protests.
The real estate mogul has regularly contrasted his energy level with other GOP candidates, perhaps most famously Jeb Bush, whom Trump branded as “low-energy” — a moniker that followed the former Florida governor for much of the race before he dropped out. Trump also regularly contrasts himself with Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, whom he says lacks the physical endurance to serve as president.
“I think she doesn’t have the stamina. You watch her, her life, you’ll watch how she’ll go away for three, four days, she’ll come back, and she’ll go. I just don’t think she has the stamina,” Trump said on CNN on Monday. “Look, we’ve got to beat China in trade. We’ve got to beat ISIS. We’ve got so many problems in this country. I say she does not have the stamina to be a good president.”
For all that bluster, Trump’s schedule in recent days has been lighter than those of his rivals. This week, Clinton campaigned in Arizona, Washington state and California, hosting at least one public event each day while also delivering a major foreign policy speech on Wednesday as well as a speech to AIPAC on Monday.
Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s rival for the Democratic nomination, campaigned in Idaho, Utah, Washington State and Arizona this week.
Ted Cruz, Trump’s chief rival for the Republican nomination, made four stops in Wisconsin on Thursday alone.
The Texas senator’s campaign has been happy to point out Trump’s quiet schedule: “MISSING #SleazyDonald: Why no events in 4 days; none planned for 8,” tweeted Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe on Friday. “Ever had psychological eval? What is hiding in medical records! Release!”
Trump, meanwhile, has largely spent the past several days in Palm Beach, Fla., at his famous Versailles-like club, Mar-a-Lago. Members of his family have joined him there.
“Very cool impromptu concert by members of the band Chicago at dinner at Mar-a-Lago just now. Awesome surprise,” wrote Donald Trump Jr. in an Instagram post, alongside a video of his father standing with the band. “. . . Even got @realdonaldtrump up and going.”
Trump’s last full day on the trail was in Arizona on Saturday, when chaotic scenes in Tucson and the Phoenix suburbs assured another weekend of footage showing protesters clashing with Trump supporters or police officers. Outside ofPhoenix, dozens of protesters formed a blockade on an Arizona highway leading to his campaign event in Fountain Hills, stationing cars that had to be towed, and inundated the zone with signs branded with anti-Trump slogans. In Tucson later that afternoon, several physical altercations during a campaign rally drew more negative attention. In one instance, a protester — whose friend was shouting at Trump while wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood — was punched by a black Trump supporter and then repeatedly stomped on.
Even in Salt Lake City, where residents are caricatured for their polite demeanor, scores gathered outside the Infinity Events Center on March 18 to condemn Trump with signs and chanting.
Yet time away from the campaign trail does not mean being away from the headlines for Trump — the candidate has regularly made news this week through his Twitter account, which has more than 7 million followers. On Wednesday, he fanned a feud with Cruz by retweeting an unflattering picture of the senator’s wife, Heidi Cruz, that compared her to his own wife, Melania, a former model. “A picture is worth a thousand words,” read the caption.
He has kept tweeting since:
“Explain how the women on The View, which is a total disaster since the great Barbara Walters left, ever got their jobs. @abc is wasting time”
“Remember when I recently said that Brussels is a ‘hell hole’ and a mess and the failing @nytimes wrote a critical article. I was so right!”
“Just announced that as many as 5000 ISIS fighters have infiltrated Europe. Also, many in U.S. I TOLD YOU SO! I alone can fix this problem!”
Katie Zezima, David Weigel, Abby Phillip and John Wagner contributed to this report.