President Donald Trump likes to meet daily with his favored Cabinet members and other top officials, which keeps some of them away from their other job duties for hours at a time.
Senior aides told Politico that Trump preferred to meet face to face with his Cabinet secretaries because he distrusted the bureaucrats who run the federal government as disloyal agents of a “deep state” conspiracy against his presidency.
Trump meets frequently with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has met with the president 34 times since February, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, a longtime friend of the president, also visit the White House often.
“Wilbur practically lives here,” said one White House staffer of Ross, who Trump calls “my Wilbur” and is a frequent guest at Mar-A-Lago.
CIA director Mike Pompeo spends three house a day to drive from Langley, Virginia, to the White Hose to personally deliver the daily national security briefing.
He’s there so much that the White House has set up a temporary workspace in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next door to the director of national intelligence.
Sources told Politico that Pompeo has griped privately about the near-daily inconvenience, but a CIA spokesperson said those presidential meetings were “important.”
But not all Cabinet secretaries — including Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson — have enjoyed the same access, according to a Politico analysis.
“Who gets to sit in meetings is highly competitive,” said one Trump adviser. “People want to be in those meetings, because information is power.”
Many of those executive agencies still lack top deputies and other political leaders, and some Trump aides and former Obama administration officials are concerned the frequent White House meetings are distracting Cabinet secretaries from their official duties.
“Everyone is in events all day long,” one senior agency official told Politico. “Everything about this White House — it’s a dog and pony show.”