Honduran migrants taking part in a caravan heading to the US, sleep in the main square of Ciudad Tecun Uman, Guatemala, in the border with Mexico, on Oct. 20, 2018. Thousands of migrants who forced their way through Guatemala's northwestern border and flooded onto a bridge leading to Mexico, where riot police battled them back, on Saturday waited at the border in the hope of continuing their journey to the United States. Orlando Sierra, AFP/Getty Images
Trump has praised China's President Xi Jinping, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, King Salman of Saudi Arabia and Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. On April 7, 2017, Trump ordered a missile strike against a Syrian airfield in retaliation for the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack. On April 13, 2018, he announced missile strikes against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, following a suspected chemical attack near Damascus. According to investigative journalist Bob Woodward, Trump had ordered his Defense Secretary James Mattis to assassinate Assad, but Mattis declined.
On January 10, 2017, Politico reported that Trump would be keeping his campaign offices in Trump Tower open in order to lay the groundwork for a re-election campaign. By that time his campaign offices at Trump Tower already included a staff of about ten people led by Republican strategist Michael Glassner. Glassner's deputy is John Pence, nephew of Vice President Mike Pence. The campaign staff was focused on data-building and fundraising for a 2020 reelection campaign.
On June 20, President Trump held a rally in Duluth, Minnesota supporting Republican Congressional candidate Pete Stauber in the 2018 midterm elections and addressing his own 2020 prospects in the state among other subjects. The rally came on the day the president had signed an Executive Order on the treatment of immigrant families with children. At the rally he said enforcement at the border would be “just as tough" under the Executive Order.
The disproportionately large amounts of time that presidents have spent visiting key electoral states (and comparatively small amount of they have spent visiting states that pose little electoral importance to them) has been pointed to as evidence of ulterior electoral motives influencing presidential governance, emblematic of the blurred lines between campaigning and governance in the White House. For instance, George W. Bush embarked on 416 domestic trips during his first three years in office. This was 114 more than his predecessor Bill Clinton made in his first three years. In his first year, 36% of Bush's domestic trips were to the 16 states that were considered swing states after having been decided the closest margins during the 2000 election. In his second year, 45% of his domestic travel was to these states, and his third year 39% of his domestic travel was to these states.
"Let's make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd," she said. "And you push back on them. And you tell them they're not welcome anymore, anywhere. We've got to get the children connected to their parents."
Trump's connections to Russia have been widely reported by the press. One of Trump's campaign managers, Paul Manafort, had worked for several years to help pro-Russian politician Viktor Yanukovich win the Ukrainian presidency. Other Trump associates, including former National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn and political consultant Roger Stone, have been connected to Russian officials. Russian agents were overheard during the campaign saying they could use Manafort and Flynn to influence Trump. Members of Trump's campaign and later his White House staff, particularly Flynn, were in contact with Russian officials both before and after the November election. On December 29, 2016, Flynn talked with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about sanctions that had been imposed the same day; Trump later fired Flynn for falsely claiming he had not discussed the sanctions.
While previous presidents had held rallies in the early days of their presidency to garner support for legislation, such rallies differed from those held by Trump in that they were funded by the White House rather than by campaign committees. One of the advantages of having his campaign committee fund the events is that organizers can more discriminately screen attendees, refusing entry to non-supporters. Trump's February rally in Melbourne, Florida was the earliest campaign rally for an incumbent president.