President Trump’s first budget plan to be rolled out without him

President Trump’s first budget plan to be rolled out without him
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When the White House unveils President Trump’s full budget plan next week, just one thing will be missing: the president.

Trump is set to begin his first foreign trip as president on Friday, a journey that will take him to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Europe.

It means he’ll be away from Washington when the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) releases his blueprint, which it is scheduled to do next week.

In most years, the president takes part in the budget rollout to showcase the administration’s priorities. The budget is a political wish list of sorts, a document rich in importance that shows how the administration is seeking to move its agenda and keep its campaign promises.

While the budget director usually does the heavy lifting at the document’s unveiling, the president often plays a central role in selling the policy.

“The process usually goes from the State of the Union to the budget rollout, where you try to build political support for the president’s agenda,” said Alex Conant, a partner at Firehouse Strategies and former OMB staffer who worked on Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioMexican politicians have a new piñata: Donald Trump Bush ethics lawyer: Congress must tell Trump not to fire Mueller The private alternative to the National Flood Insurance Program  MORE’s (R-Fla.) presidential campaign. 

Things tend to work differently in the first year of an administration, though, and this year in particular the budget schedule has been off-kilter, in part because of the need to pass a spending bill for 2017 and avert a government shutdown in May.

This year’s budget also comes at an unusual time: when the president faces the biggest crisis of his first year in office.

Trump’s surprise firing of FBI Director James Comey, and the news of a memo suggesting that the president sought to stop Comey from investigating former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s ties to Russia, have rocked the White House.

In Trump’s absence, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney will seek to keep the focus on the things he wants to highlight, such as spending cuts, tax reforms and plans to build a wall along the southern border.

Some outsiders say it’s best for presidents to have an arm’s length distance from their own budgets.

“The truth is, I believe that it’s actually the right thing to do broadly,” said Doug Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum and a former Congressional Budget Office director. 

“I thought Barack ObamaBarack ObamaEPA transition official dismisses climate science strategy as 'silliness' Microsoft’s misguided broadband plan endangers Americans Colbert mocks Trump speech with new Boy Scout oath MORE and, before that, George W. Bush put their face on issues too much. Let your Cabinet secretaries take control of the issues, and if they don’t work out, fire them,” he added.