Donald Trump’s private daily schedules, leaked by a “a White House source” to the political site Axios which published them on Sunday, show that in the past three months, Trump has spent nearly 300 hours of his working days doing no identifiable work.
Covering almost every day from November 7 of 2018 to February 1 of this year, according to Axios, the schedules show that Trump “usually spends the first 5 hours of the day in Executive Time.”
“Executive Time,” according to Politico, is “a euphemism for the unstructured time Trump spends tweeting, phoning friends and watching television.” If Trump is performing any presidential duties or functions during that time — totaling 297 hours in the period covered by the leaked schedules, they are not noted on the official private schedules.
However, Matt Gertz — a senior fellow at Media Matters For America — said on his Twitter account that his research showed what Trump was likely doing during many of the nearly 300 hours of “Executive Time” recorded on the documents, “live-tweeting Fox News shows, which led him into a government shutdown.”
In a report for the Daily Beast, Gertz correlated opinions and supposed information conveyed on Fox News morning broadcasts with Trump’s own Twitter posts.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) February 3, 2019
Gertz reports that he “tracked several hundred of the president’s often-hyperaggressive tweets back to particular segments on Fox News and its sister network, Fox Business, that caught the president’s eye.”
Gertz says that he has linked Trump’s decision to cause the recent government shutdown to statements made on the morning Fox & Friends program, which Trump is know to watch frequently, making the decision after the show’s co-anchor Steve Doocy said on the air that “If there’s not a shutdown, he’s going to look like a loser.”
The leaked schedules show that from November 7 to February 1, Trump spent only 77 hours in meetings, just under 25 percent of the amount of time Trump spent in “Executive Time.” He also spent 51 hours traveling but only 39 hours having lunch.
Axios also compared Trump’s schedules to those of recent presidents, finding a sharp contrast with his two predecessors, Barack Obama and George W. Bush, both of whom were “disciplined” and “punctual,” according to an Axios review of their schedules. Bush would typically rise at 5:45 a.m. and start his work day in the Oval Office one hour later, after breakfast with his wife, Laura Bush.
Bush also “rarely watched TV in the West Wing,” unlike Trump, Axios reported.
Obama arrived in the Oval Office on most days at 9 a.m., but would typically take at least six meetings every day — not including regularly scheduled intelligence and economic briefings. “There were unscheduled blocks of time, but they were a rare occurrence, and usually leading into bigger moments — foreign trips, State of the Union, etc.,” Obama’s deputy chief of staff for operations, Alyssa Mastromonaco, told Axios.