Axios got a scoop. A White House source has leaked nearly every day of President Trump’s private schedule for the past three months.
This unusually voluminous leak gives us unprecedented visibility into how this president spends his days. The schedules, which cover nearly every working day since the midterms, show that Trump has spent around 60% of his scheduled time over the past 3 months in unstructured “Executive Time.”
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.
Take these random examples from this week’s real schedule:
- 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.
Trump’s schedule wasn’t always like this. In the earliest days of the Trump administration it began earlier and ended later. Trump would have breakfast meetings (e.g. hosting business leaders in the Roosevelt Room). He didn’t like the longer official schedule and pushed for later starts. The morning intelligence briefing ended up settling around 10:30am.
The White House Director of Operations reacts:
What a disgraceful breach of trust to leak schedules. What these don’t show are the hundreds of calls and meetings @realDonaldTrump takes everyday. This POTUS is working harder for the American people than anyone in recent history. https://t.co/n1HrxmCsiB— Madeleine Westerhout (@madwest45) February 3, 2019
It seems Madeline may be unaware that 44 U.S.C. § 2203 commands that POTUS “shall” take all necessary steps to ensure that the performance of his duties is “adequately documented” and preserved. So much for transparency and accountability. Instead, she publicly concedes that the President routinely conducts official business by telephone or in-person meetings without publicly noting that these calls/meetings even exist—let alone identifying their participants or subject matter.