Politico is reporting that they’ve received schedules showing that far more of the president’s day is spent in “Executive Time” (a euphemism for activities such as television viewing, tweeting and phoning friends) than in carrying out the normal presidential duties of reading briefings and attending policy meetings.
According to Politico:
President Donald Trump had about three times as much free time planned for last Tuesday as work time, according to his private schedule. The president was slated for more than nine hours of “Executive Time,” a euphemism for the unstructured time Trump spends tweeting, phoning friends and watching television. Official meetings, policy briefings and public appearances — typically the daily work of being president — consumed barely more than three hours of his day.
Based on Trump’s schedule for the week of Monday October 22 to Friday October 26, Trump spent only slightly over two hours of his work week reading briefing papers, a task that would consume the working day of most previous modern presidents.
Some of Trump’s staff defend the “Executive Time” as a period where the president discusses ideas with those he trusts most and monitors the media to keep abreast of developments. One staffer described Trump as a “workaholic.”
In Bob Woodward’s book Fear, released earlier this year, it’s suggested that “Executive Time” came about for medical reasons. According to Woodward, in 2017, Ronny Jackson, then working as White House physician, warned the Chief of Staff John Kelly that Trump was over-exerting himself.
“The president has been under a lot of stress recently,” Jackson is reported as saying, “We may need to figure out some way to dial things back, or to ease up on his schedule.”
According to Woodward, “Kelly’s solution was to give the president more ‘Executive Time.’” Woodward also depicts former White House advisor Steve Bannon as musing about Trump, “many times he watched six to eight hours of television a day. Think what your brain would be like if you did that? Bannon asked.”