President Donald Trump is starting work later and ending the day earlier in 2018, according to internal White House documents obtained by Jonathan Swan of Axios.com.
Trump is postponing the beginning of his work day until 11 a.m., taking fewer meetings and and demanding more “executive time” in which he is unscheduled for official duties. Even close White House officials admit, Swan said, that this means the president will be watching TV and using Twitter “alone in the residence.”
“The schedule says Trump has ‘Executive Time’ in the Oval Office every day from 8am to 11am,” wrote Swan, “but the reality is he spends that time in his residence, watching TV, making phone calls and tweeting. Trump comes down for his first meeting of the day, which is often an intelligence briefing, at 11am.”
By contrast, President Barack Obama typically took in an early morning workout, then arrived in the Oval Office between 8:30 and 9 a.m. and worked well into the evening hours. President George W. Bush arrived in the Oval Office even earlier, at 6:45 each morning.
Trump typically ends his day around 6 p.m. and retreats to the residence, where he and First Lady Melania Trump maintain separate quarters and can go days without seeing each other.
After 6, Trump eats dinner and makes phone calls, watching TV and occasionally firing off tweets in response to things he sees on one of his three TV screens.
This Tuesday, Swan reported, Trump has his first item of the day at 11 a.m., a meeting with White House chief of staff John Kelly. Then he takes an hour lunch and a subsequent hour and 15 minutes of “Executive Time,” then a 45-minute meeting with national security adviser H. R. McMaster, followed by more Executive Time and a short meeting with the work day ending in the afternoon at 4:15.
On Wednesday, the president has one meeting, one briefing, a video chat with Hope Hicks and the day ends at 4. Thursday is virtually unscheduled with an 11 a.m. “Policy Time” briefing and Executive Time for the rest of the very short day.
Trump has spent nearly a third of his time since Inauguration Day playing golf. A vast number of federal positions are still left unfilled nearly a year into Trump’s presidency.
Aides insist that the president is always busy, but Swan noted that the bulk of that time appears to be “unstructured and undisciplined.”
“He’s calling people, watching TV, tweeting, and generally taking the same loose, improvisational approach to being president that he took to running the Trump Organization for so many years,” wrote Swan. “Old habits die hard.”