Former Brookings Expert
Richard O. Lempert was a nonresident senior fellow with Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. During 2012-2013, he was a visiting fellow in Governence Studies at the Brookings Institution. From June 2008 until July 2011, he served as chief scientist in the Human Factors/Behavioral Sciences Division of the Science and Technology Directorate in the Department of Homeland Security; and from June 2002 through May 2006, he took leave from the University of Michigan to serve as the division director for the Social and Economic Sciences at the National Science Foundation. His research interests are broad, encompassing, among other things, matters related to national security, government bureaucracy, juries, race relations and social science methods.
I think it's unusual for the chief of staff to go on a trip, particularly on a trip this long. The chief of staff is usually more of a chief operating officer in the White House itself, and normally when your principal—whether it's the president himself or the head of Cabinet agency—goes abroad, you have his deputy and those folks staying behind to help manage operations in his absence.
Both the Israelis and Palestinians know that the current situation is not good for anyone. It's bad for Israelis and awful for those in Gaza. That's where I'd start if I was Trump.
It’s not about values in one category and interests in another. In the case of the two previous administrations, one Republican and one Democrat, they both saw it as congruous with counterterrorism efforts. This administration is not even claiming to find a balance. They’re throwing it all out the window.