“Is Donald Trump so tired of being President that he’s shirking his responsibilities?
That’s one possible explanation for the news reported by Axios today that Trump has been starting his workday hours later than he did at the beginning of his presidency.
Already under attack as a slacker President who has set new records for time spent golfing (88 golf trips to date) or at one of his resorts instead of in the White House (117 days), Trump is reportedly now waiting until 11 AM before showing up to work in the Oval Office.
The discrepancy between the President’s schedule as officially published by the White House and the reality of Trump’s day to day routine can be attributed to the “Executive Time” listed every day on the schedule between 8 AM and 11 AM each day. In fact, White House insiders say, Trump spends that time in his personal quarters watching TV, making phone calls, and tweeting.
By way of contrast, George W. Bush, for all of his many faults, at least managed to make it to work at an hour one would expect from the leader of the free world, an eager beaver-like 6:45 AM. President Obama generally hit the gym before work and would roll in pumped up from his workout during the respectable hour between 9 AM and 10 AM.
Jonathan Swan, the Axios reporter who was given a peek at the actual presidential schedule rather than the usual publicly sanitized version, describes Trump’s workday as a fairly short seven hours in the Oval office before returning to his residence for more calls, tweets, and the occasional meeting, but always more TV. Swan presents the following examples from this week’s real schedule as typical for the President lately.
“On Tuesday, Trump has his first meeting of the day with Chief of Staff John Kelly at 11am. He then has “Executive Time” for an hour followed by an hour lunch in the private dining room. Then it’s another 1 hour 15 minutes of “Executive Time” followed by a 45 minute meeting with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. Then another 15 minutes of “Executive Time” before Trump takes his last meeting of the day — a 3:45pm meeting with the head of Presidential Personnel Johnny DeStefano — before ending his official day at 4:15pm.”
“Other days are fairly similar, unless the president is traveling, in which case the days run longer. On Wednesday this week, for example, the president meets at 11am for his intelligence briefing, then has “Executive Time” until a 2pm meeting with the Norwegian Prime Minister. His last official duty: a video recording with Hope Hicks at 4pm.”
“On Thursday, the president has an especially light schedule: “Policy Time” at 11am, then “Executive Time” at 12pm, then lunch for an hour, then more “Executive Time” from 1:30pm.”
Swan states that this level of inactivity is a departure from Trump’s schedule earlier in his term when his day would begin earlier and end later. Trump reportedly rebelled against the breakfast meetings and heavy workload and demanded a lighter schedule with more “Executive Time,” presumably meaning delegating the actual work to minions while he watches Fox News and makes executive-type decisions.
The White House aides told Axios that Trump is always a “whirl of activity” with an “unstructured and undisciplined” “improvisational approach to being president,” in a description worthy of a hyperactive child. Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to the Axios article with this statement:
“The time in the morning is a mix of residence time and Oval Office time but he always has calls with staff, Hill members, cabinet members and foreign leaders during this time. 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.”
Kind of the same thing that parents of hyperactive children might just say.
The upside of having a President who is both incompetent and lazy is patently obvious, however. The less time he spends working, the less damage he can do.