Jake Tapper came to talk about President Donald Trump, the Washington swamp, and to plug his new novel, The Hellfire Club, but in front of an audience of hundreds of travel agents and other industry executives, the CNN anchor addressed how media and travel interests may sometimes converge.
At the American Society of Travel Advisors global conference in Washington Thursday, Tapper said one way the travel industry could further its own aims about breaking down barriers between people of different countries would be to support the media’s international coverage.
The media doesn’t do enough international coverage, but CNN does more than anyone, Tapper said, adding that the network does have CNN International, its news channel focusing on developments abroad.
However, people need to actually view the international shows if they want them to survive, Tapper said.
He also slipped in an endorsement of local journalism, saying local newspapers need to root out “crooks” — so people should subscribe to them in support.
The host of CNN’s State of the Union on Sundays and the Lead with Jake Tapper, he spoke at length about Trump, adding that he doesn’t disagree that the nation’s capital needs to be shaken up.
“Washington, D.C. is a swamp,” Tapper said. “That is true. I don’t know if it’s being drained right now. It’s been a swamp for a long time.”
Reacting to the plea deal for Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, and the conviction of ex-Trump 2016 campaign manager Paul Manafort, Tapper argued that the U.S. is “a beacon of integrity,” and that’s proven by the downfall of so many people close to the president. “That’s really a strong side of American institutions,” Tapper said. “That’s what makes America great.”
On issues of the day that relate to travel, Tapper referenced what he called the Trump administration’s “Muslim ban,” adding, “I think it is fair to say it was not done as competently as it should have been.” When the initial travel ban went into effect, there was great confusion at U.S. airports for both travelers and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials about how it would be implemented.
Mentioning CNN’s coverage of the Hawaii volcano in 2018, Tapper said CNN was careful to point out that the lava flows were not near tourism areas.
Not all of the questions that the audience asked Tapper were particularly tough, and in fact someone indeed asked him what was his favorite destination. Tapper said Mykonos, Greece was his favorite when he was single and traveling with his brother, and St. Thomas is high on his list now that he’s married and has kids, age nine and 10.
Asked about accommodation preferences, Tapper said he favors Marriott resorts for his stays. “We are not fancy highfalutin Ritz-Carlton types,” Tapper said. “My wife wants to be.”
Boarding Strategies for Family Travel
Tapper also got into a whimsical exchange with TV host Samantha Brown, who interviewed him on stage, about the best strategies for dealing with his kids on an upcoming flight from the U.S. to Bulgaria.
Brown advised Tapper he should board the flight first, and secure the overhead bin space, and his wife should remain at the gate with the kids, and then board at the last possible moment.
Tapper said he wouldn’t do that because it is an 11 p.m. flight, and he would want to get his children to sleep as soon as possible after boarding. A travel agent sitting next to this reporter said the kids will not fall asleep soon after boarding with all the onboard commotion.
“Listen to her!” the travel agent advised, referring to Brown’s late-boarding advice.
On a subject of interest to the audience, Tapper said as a CNN employee he frequently books his trips through a travel agent, adding he’d be lying if he said he only used travel agents to book his travel.
As with all things in Washington, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.