‘Anything could happen’: Trump aides fret when he gets free time because that’s when he screws up
Some of President Donald Trump’s top aides worry that too much of his time is unsupervised, which — in the past — has led to serious unforced errors that undermine him and his administration.
Politico said on Saturday that Trump likes to keep large chunks of time on his daily schedule open because — as he said in “The Art of the Deal” — it allows him time to be “imaginative.”
And while some advisers support the president’s unconventional approach to the job, others worry that these holes in the president’s schedule are where he goes awry and “watches too much TV”, gets overexcited and posts inflammatory — frequently inaccurate — rants online or speaks by phone with people who encourage his worst instincts.
“There may be a block of time, two hours of staff time, who knows what’s going on during that time, anything could happen,” one harried-sounded White House official told Politico anonymously.
It was during such unsupervised blocks of time that Trump made two of his worst blunders. On the Saturday morning after the inauguration, Trump — infuriated that his inaugural crowds were smaller than Obama’s in 2009 or the women’s march that day — Trump went on his counterfactual campaign to convince the world that his inaugural crowds were the largest ever.
On another Saturday morning, Trump made his now-infamous claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Towers in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election.
The picture that emerges from these mishaps and the current stories from the White House is of a president with a childlike attention span who gets into trouble if he’s out of the sight of his minders for more than an hour.
“Number one, he’s lonely. It’s part of why he’s reached out to me,” said one friend of the president who Trump regularly speaks with on the phone. “He’s always been a creature of routine.”
Trump ally and CEO of right-wing news blog Newsmax Chris Ruddy defended Trump’s unwillingness to adhere to a regular, publicly scrutable schedule and said that the president has been very welcoming to other leaders during his short time in the White House.
“President Trump has already demonstrated that he is one of the most accessible and open presidents the country has had in recent times,” said Ruddy. “He’s going out of his way to invite business leaders, Democrats, union leaders, world leaders, to meet with him either at the oval office or his home in Florida.”
White house personnel assured Politico that they’re getting the president on to a more disciplined work schedule soon.
“They need to keep him busy or he starts calling CEO types like Steve Schwarzman,” said one person close to the matter.
“They’re trying to fill his schedule up because he gets into mischief.”