Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Makes Quiet Pilgrimage to Israel

The Wisconsin governor is in Israel -- without the media.

ByABC News
May 12, 2015, 1:12 PM

— -- If a top presidential contender goes to Israel but no reporters are there to record it, did it happen?

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is on a trip there currently, where he has met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Isaac Herzog.

In addition to those meetings, Walker has been visiting major historical and religious sites and mostly listening, as evidenced by tweets from Walker and from Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, a U.S.-based group.

Walker has planned no open-press events during his roughly week-long trip to the Holy Land. Tweets like the above will comprise American voters' insight into what he's up to.

For any presidential candidate, a trip abroad is a risk, and Walker's no-press approach draws a stark contrast. During a trip to London in February, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a potential rival of Walker's in the 2016 election if they both run, stirred up controversy by saying parents should have some choice in whether their children are vaccinated, and he avoided questions from an aggressive press corps that challenged him on foreign policy. Mitt Romney, notably, suffered a gaffe-filled trip to the U.K. in 2012 that he started off by suggesting London's Olympic preparations might be lacking.

Battle-tested by years of consecutive elections against Wisconsin Democrats, Walker suffers the same problem as all governors seeking the presidency: a lack of exposure to issues of foreign policy, something his potential rivals in Senate -- Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz -- have dealt with in Congress.

Walker consistently polls in the top three for the Republican presidential nomination, nationally. He'll return to the U.S. at the end of the week without having made as much noise as other candidates who've gone abroad, and, on the bright side, without the gaffes.

This story has been updated. An earlier version inaccurately stated Walker has shied away from media encounters since a February interview with The Washington Post. His political team notes several broadcast and post-event gaggles with reporters since then, so we've removed that paragraph.