A new Axios report confirms something many of us suspected about Donald Trump’s White House: the president spends an inordinate number of work hours watching television and tweeting. In fact, the report implies that Trump spends a limited amount of time actually working, starting work later and holding fewer meetings than when he first took office.
Compared with his schedule last year, Trump spends fewer hours in meetings and more hours dedicated to a mysterious activity blocked off on his official schedule as “Executive Time”—which in reality, aides say, means “watching TV, making phone calls and tweeting.” The article continues: “Trump’s days in the Oval Office are relatively short—from around 11am to 6pm, then he’s back to the residence. During that time he usually has a meeting or two, but spends a good deal of time making phone calls and watching cable news in the dining room adjoining the Oval. Then he’s back to the residence for more phone calls and more TV.”
Trump begins his workday three to four hours after most Americans do. He doesn’t take his first official meeting (his daily briefing by staff members) until 11am. It should alarm us all that Trump spends his early hours each day absorbing news from secondhand sources like Twitter and his beloved “Fox and Friends.”
The Axios report also confirms what the New York Times wrote about Trump’s morning routine:
“Around 5:30 each morning, President Trump wakes and tunes into the television in the White House’s master bedroom. He flips to CNN for news, moves to ‘Fox & Friends’ for comfort and messaging ideas, and sometimes watches MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ because, friends suspect, it fires him up for the day.
“Energized, infuriated — often a gumbo of both — Mr. Trump grabs his iPhone. Sometimes he tweets while propped on his pillow, according to aides. Other times he tweets from the den next door, watching another television. Less frequently, he makes his way up the hall to the ornate Treaty Room, sometimes dressed for the day, sometimes still in night clothes, where he begins his official and unofficial calls.”
According to Axios, White House aides say Trump’s days are “unstructured and undisciplined.”
By contrast, his predecessors had starkly different daily schedules while they occupied the White House. Barack Obama’s day began early; he’s known to have worked out nearly every morning while in office. At 8:30am he’d receive his first briefings from staff and he attended back-to-back calls and meetings until 6pm or later.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders offered a strange and amusing response to the report: “The President is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen and puts in long hours and long days nearly every day of the week all year long. It has been noted by reporters many times that they wish he would slow down because they sometimes have trouble keeping up with him.”
To be fair, it’s true that most Americans have trouble keeping up with Trump—with his infuriating episodes of human rights violations, his insults and his cringe-worthy comments about his own “genius,” but not with any noteworthy record of progress.