Pollster: Pence could visit troops instead of Trump

Pollster Mallory Newall raised the idea Wednesday that Vice President Pence or members of the Cabinet could take up responsibilities that typically fall to the president, such as visiting troops abroad during the holidays.

"You can look at maybe the vice president, or other members of the Cabinet that are more likely to take on that sort of head of state role," Newall, research director at Ipsos Public Affairs, told Hill.TV's Jamal Simmons on "What America's Thinking" when asked whether Trump will make a surprise trip to visit troops abroad.

Trump has faced backlash for not visiting troops in war zones after The Washington Post reported that one reason he has not made such visits is because he is concerned for his safety.

The president dismissed that report on Tuesday, telling reporters he planned to visit a war zone, though he did not specify the time or the place.

An American Barometer survey released on Wednesday found that 88 percent of voters surveyed said Trump should visit U.S. troops in war zones, while 12 percent said it was not important for Trump to take those trips. 

Pence has made trips abroad to visit U.S. troops before, including a surprise visit to troops at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan in December 2017. 

Newall said Trump, who is spending Thanksgiving this week at his Mar-a-Lago resort, is unlikely to make an unannounced visit to troops for the holiday.

"I don't think that's something that's up his sleeve for this year," she said. "When he's been asked recently about why he's not done this, obviously touting things like giving the military a raise, and that he supports the military, but that he doesn't support our wars abroad."

— Julia Manchester