In his latest column, Washington Post writer Phil Bump outlined the numbers dispelling the myth that President Donald Trump is the hardest working president in history.
Trump has made the claim frequently, bragging about his accomplishments being far above any other president. Economic adviser Peter Navarro sang Trump’s praises on Sunday, but he was faced with questions about why Trump spent the weekend golfing on another vacation instead of working with the House and Senate to craft a stimulus package that could help Americans still suffering under the recession and shutdown.
“Where is the president?” asked host Chuck Todd. “Why was he at his golf club all weekend? Why isn’t he negotiating? … Why isn’t he involved?”
“Look, you have to understand this is the hardest-working president in history. He works 24/7. He can be in Bedminster, Mar-a-Lago, the Oval Office or anywhere in between,” Navarro said, dodging the question.
But the facts don’t quite support the claim.
“The president has spent all or part of 383 days during his presidency at properties he or his private company owns,” wrote Bump. “That includes all or part of 132 days at his Mar-a-Lago property in Florida and all or part of 102 days at his club in Bedminster, N.J. If you’re curious, 383 days is about 3 out of every 10 days he’s been president. On average, two days of every week are spent entirely or in part at a Trump or Trump Organization property.”
In a shocking infographic, Bump shows a representation of all of the days Trump spent playing golf or lounging at his properties throughout his presidency.
“Is he working when he’s there?” asked Bump. “Sure, sometimes. Over the weekend, for example, he held two odd news conferences in Bedminster, allowing club members to join the fun (and boo the reporters).”
But photos and videos of Trump over the years show him enjoying the omelet bar, taking in personal performances by a lounge singer, crashing weddings, holding fundraisers, and of course, golf.
Trump Golf Count has confirmed at least 131 outings, but the Post did their own analysis, saying that they estimate he’s spent 237 days playing golf as president. Obama played about 322 rounds of golf in eight years and only 113 times his first term in office.
Whether he’s at the White House or at one of his golf clubs, Trump’s public schedule is generally light. While he’s known to call up friends and allies to gossip or argue about the day’s news, he doesn’t appear to be working the way his predecessors did. Trump staff has claimed that this is because he’s “different.” But as the coronavirus raged across the country, Trump maintained everything was fine and the virus would disappear by April. It not only didn’t disappear, more than 160,000 Americans died. The weekend vacations and golf outings along with coming into the office later in the mornings only adds to questions about the degree to which the president is actually focusing on his job.
Bump cited Media Matters’ Matt Gertz, who calculated the overlap between Trump’s tweets and cable news shows he might be tweeting about. He found that between January 2019 through June of this year, Trump was glued to his television nearly 1,000 times, live-tweeting his displeasure instead of tending to the needs of the American public.
“There have been days when several hours of his time are clearly spent in front of the television, as revealed by his tweets about programming,” wrote Bump. He cited calculations from the New York Times, showing that Trump would wake as early as 5 a.m. and watch cable news until noon before finally coming into the West Wing to work.
“It is certainly possible that Navarro is including in his assessment of Trump’s hardworking-ness all of the time the president spends doing anything at all,” Bump closed. “So, maybe Trump is the hardest-working president in the sense that he’s constantly doing something, up at 5 a.m. to live-tweet ‘Fox & Friends’ before grabbing an omelet and playing a round with [Lindsey] Graham. That is not, however, the standard sense in which the term might be expected to be used.”