It’s a well-worn strategy in the Trump White House: Senior officials conveniently manage to be elsewhere when major controversies engulf the building. The frequent absences of Jared Kushner, the Republican president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and presidential daughter Ivanka Trump during moments of consequence have long been a running joke among their detractors. Their detours included a trip to Florida during the partial government shutdown.

Plenty of others have jumped town during tense moments.

As Trump struggled with mounting Republican defections over his decision to declare a national emergency to pay for the stalled border wall, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney wasn’t at the Capitol cajoling his former colleagues or in the West Wing making calls. Instead, he was in Las Vegas for an annual friends and family getaway…

The White House did not respond to questions about the tactic Wednesday. But even when they’re in Washington, many of the White House’s most visible officials have been staying out of public view, letting the president’s indignant Twitter feed and his frequent commentary drive the public conversation.