President Trump has spent roughly 60 percent of his working hours in so-called “executive time” over the last three months, according to a trove of internal White House schedules obtained by Axios. The schedules reveal Mr. Trump’s days at the White House contain hours of unstructured time punctuated by intelligence briefings, lunches, media interviews and meetings with administration officials.
In total, about 297 of the 503 hours on the president’s schedule since Nov. 7, 2018 were designated “executive time,” a label coined by former chief of staff John Kelly. Axios notes that the president often holds impromptu meetings or calls heads of state during “executive time” periods, sometimes to prevent leaks. Some meetings during “executive time” are listed on more detailed schedules seen by fewer staffers than see the more general one.
“Executive time” consumed many of Mr. Trump’s mornings, with his first meetings of the day often occurring at 11 a.m., according to Axios. Other unstructured time periods were often scheduled before and after lunch, ranging anywhere from 15 minutes to over an hour and a half. Some days the president’s private time makes up a majority of the day, with one day listing more than seven hours of “executive time.”
The schedules list the president as being in the Oval Office at 8 a.m. on most days, but Axios cites six sources with direct knowledge of the president’s routine who said Mr. Trump is never in the Oval Office that early. Instead, Axios reports he mostly spends those morning sessions in the residence where he is known to watch cable news and read newspapers.
Chris Whipple, a presidential historian, told Axios there is “almost no [historical] parallel” for how the president’s days are structured.
“Trump is a guy who gives new meaning to the notion of an unstructured presidency,” Whipple said.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released a statement saying, “President Trump has a different leadership style than his predecessors and the results speak for themselves. While he spends much of his average day in scheduled meetings, events, and calls, there is time to allow for a more creative environment that has helped make him the most productive President in modern history.
“President Trump has ignited a booming economy with lower taxes and higher wages, established the USA as the #1 producer of oil and gas in the world, remade our judiciary, rebuilt our military, and renegotiated better trade deals. It’s indisputable that our country has never been stronger than it is today under the leadership of President Trump.”