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FORT WORTH, Texas — I’m in the middle seat on my sixth flight in four days. A line of people dragging suitcases snakes toward the front of the plane.
The flight attendant comes over the loudspeaker with a warning: "You may have noticed Air Force One sitting on the runway..." she begins.
President Donald Trump’s getting ready to leave Reno, Nevada, and so are we — but if this plane isn’t loaded in the next 20 minutes, we’re at risk of getting delayed under a temporary flight restriction as he takes off for Washington.
I won’t be following him. Instead, I’m making my way to Texas — stop No. 3 on our MSNBC show’s "Outside the Beltway" tour.
In each state, we’re focusing on policy issues — health care, jobs and the economy, immigration and border security. We’re also asking people the same series of questions, starting with what advice they would give to the president.
A common theme has emerged:
"Stay off Twitter!"
"My advice for the president would be stop using Twitter"
"Cancel his Twitter account"
One woman in Reno also lamented the lack of a middle ground in Washington.
"I miss seeing moderates," she told us. "I don't know what happened to the fiscally conservative, socially liberal people. I know I'm one, but I just don't see people speaking about that very much any more.”
"Advice for Congress?" asked another man, repeating our question. "I would like to see them work together. How about that? I would like to see them meeting in the middle on some things."
A lot of folks seem exhausted by the avalanche of news dumping daily from D.C. Some seem energized — and a few were energized enough to come visit our set in Bangor, Maine. I looked up after the show there to see a group of strangers, waving. They drove in from nearby neighborhoods after seeing our location on MSNBC.
And in Washoe County, Nevada, local officials came by at 2:30 a.m. to unlock the Rancho San Rafael gate for our "TODAY Show" live shot — then stuck around after the show to say hello.
Back on the runway, that flight to Texas gets delayed as Trump heads back to the White House. He’d just wrapped up a speech calling for unity — the night after a divisive, searing speech in Phoenix, Arizona.
Eventually, I make it to Ft. Worth. During the show, I ask Rep. Will Hurd, a Republican congressman from Texas, about whether he’d support the president’s renomination in 2020 — a timely topic, given Trump has been hitting the campaign trail this week.
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Rep. Hurd responds: "2020 is a really long ways away."
"Shouldn’t that be a question that gets a simple 'yes' from a Republican member of Congress?" I follow up.
"Maybe it should, maybe it shouldn’t," the congressman responds, "but it’s hard for me to ever think past the next election, and the next election I’m worried about is my re-election in 2018."
Sen. Susan Collins, in Maine earlier this week, was even more blunt when I asked if she thinks Trump will be up the GOP nominee in 2020.
"It’s too difficult to say," the moderate Republican answered.