Sunday, February 3, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He had a pretty typical day.

Trump spent the weekend at Mar-a-Lago, after the political realities of the recent government shutdown forced him to go weeks without a trip to one of his vacation homes. He tweeted, played golf, watched television, attended a private party, traveled in a motorcade and on Air Force One, and according to his public schedule, did no work.

In other words, it was a pretty typical Sunday in the Trump administration—and, as an article coincidentally published by Axios today shows, it was pretty typical of many weekdays.

Trump's use of "executive time" has ballooned to include more than 60% of his schedule. The term is a euphemism that the White House schedulers use for periods during the workday when Trump is watching TV, tweeting, chatting with friends, or otherwise disengaged from the specific duties of the presidency. 

Axios also published the evidence, leaked copies of Trump's private internal White House schedules for the last three months. These actual schedules contradict the ones prepared for public consumption, which depict Trump hard at work in the Oval Office during "executive time." In reality, the internal schedules prove, Trump rarely puts in Oval Office time, or takes meetings, or does other discernible work in the mornings.

Why does this matter?

  • The presidency is a full-time job.
  • It's bad if all it takes to embarrass a president is to show how he spends his day.