President Donald Trump and his staff have been on the job for nearly 100 days, and they’re coming to the realization that running the executive branch of the U.S. government isn’t quite as easy as they thought.
Trump’s unexpected election win seems to have given him a false sense that serving as president wouldn’t be much harder than running for president, but aides and other close associates say he’s come to realize the demands of the job, reported Politico.
“I think he’s much more aware how complicated the world is,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, an informal adviser to the administration, told the website. “This will all be more uphill than he thought it would be because I think he had the old-fashioned American idea that you run for office, you win, then people behave as though you won.”
The president infamously declared that “nobody knew that health care could be so complicated” as he tried to sell a Republican replacement for the Affordable Care Act that ultimately failed.
Trump admitted last week that getting legislation passed was a lot different than negotiating real estate or reality television deals, according to Politico.
“Making business decisions and buying buildings don’t involve heart,” Trump said. “This involves heart. These are heavy decisions.”
White House staffers have also been surprised by the steep learning curve they faced in their new jobs, the website reported.
“I kind of pooh-poohed the experience stuff when I first got here,” one White House official told Politico. “But this sh*t is hard.”
In addition to the obvious demands of working in the White House, staffers have also been tasked with managing an impulsive chief executive who likes to keep plenty of free time for himself.
“If you’re an adviser to him, your job is to help him at the margins, to talk him out of doing crazy things,” said one source described by Politico as a “Trump confidante.”
Aides have learned to limit the options they present to the president, who quickly and easily changes his mind, and to go light on the details.
“You don’t walk in with a traditional presentation, like a binder or a PowerPoint — he doesn’t care,” said one senior administration official. “He doesn’t consume information that way. You go in and tell him the pros and cons, and what the media coverage is going to be like.”
Staffers have also tried to set a stricter schedule for the president to keep him from cursing angrily at negative coverage on TV and posting on Twitter, but Trump resists intrusions into his leisure time.
“Everyone is concerned that things are not running that well,” a senior official told Politico. “There should be more structure in place so we know who is working on what and who is responsible for what, instead of everyone freelancing on everything.”