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A Washington Times news article starts as follows:

The White House said residents of the Oregon town where a gunman killed nine people at a community college have “nothing to fear” from President Obama’s scheduled trip to their community on Friday.

Told that some residents of Roseburg that Mr. Obama intends to politicize the shootings, White House press secretary Josh Earnest replied, “Those individuals have nothing to fear.”

“The president’s made clear that the goal of his visit is to spend time with the families of those who were so deeply affected by this terrible tragedy,” Mr. Earnest said. “That’s the purpose of the president’s trip.”

As for the boldfaced portion, I'd like to know if "the goal of" can be omitted without changing the portion's meaning as follows:

The president’s made clear that his visit is to spend time with the families of those who were so deeply affected by this terrible tragedy

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    It sounds a little clumsy. Try "he's visiting to spend time ..." – Barmar Jun 14 '17 at 20:20
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    …his visit is to spend time is neither correct nor idomatic. In my view the real question should be why you'd want to drop the goal of…? If you were going to change the original to Barmar's he's visiting to spend time… why would you leave the semantically identical …the purpose of the president’s trip, please? That sounds doubly true if you consider that he's visiting in order to spend time… would convey the same semantics more idomatically. – Robbie Goodwin Jun 26 '17 at 15:46
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    @RobbieGoodwin Because I came across similar constructions. For example, "Officially, the visit is to pay respects following the death of King Abdullah" in this Guardian article: theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/27/… – JK2 Jun 27 '17 at 6:00
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    I know nothing about your other constructions but that Guardian article is clearly not the place to look for examples of good English. If we wanted to shorten … the goal of his visit is to… the natural choice would be … the goal is to…, not … the visit is to… – Robbie Goodwin Jun 27 '17 at 14:00
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    @RobbieGoodwin Well, I think that The Guardian is one of the most respected newspapers in Britain and the world. So I'm not sure why you say it's not the place to look for good English. If you're right, why news articles are a main source for corpus data for linguists? – JK2 Jun 27 '17 at 15:12
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You can omit it but it changes the meaning slightly. It's also more awkward.

“The president’s made clear that the goal of his visit is to spend time with the families of those who were so deeply affected by this terrible tragedy...”

To spend is the infinitive form of the verb, being used as a noun parallel with goal. What is his goal? To spend time w/these people.

“The president’s made clear that his visit is to spend time with the families of those who were so deeply affected by this terrible tragedy...”

Here, "What is his visit?" cannot be answered with "To spend time" but with some expansion: "an occasion to spend time" &c. What's happening grammatically is that this phrasing is an elision of "in order to".

The other editors note that it's more awkward than usual. That's because it's also eliding "being made" or "occurring" as well. It's not incomprehensible or wrong per se, but it's a lot to leave out and there are better ways to say it... like the way the spokesman did in the first place.

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