Donald Trump may be the president of the United States of America, but that doesn’t mean he has a packed daily work schedule of back-to-back events. Instead, Politico reports the president often enjoys blocks of “Executive Time”: a fancy term for free time during the day to do whatever he wants.
According to Politico, Trump had a jam-packed schedule when he first started in the White House. But after the president complained to General John Kelly about feeling over-scheduled, saying that he “didn’t have any time to think” under the White House’s former chief of staff Reince Priebus, Kelly came up with the concept of “Executive Time,” periods blocked out of Trump’s schedule. It’s then that Trump gets to tweet, call friends, and watch TV during working hours. Per Politico:
“There was always this tug and pull early in the administration when Priebus was there because if there were too many things on his schedule, he would complain. But if there were too few things on his schedule, the senior staff would complain because he would be left to his own devices and spend more time watching TV or calling people on the phone or calling in advisers unscheduled to the Oval Office,” said a former White House aide familiar with the evolution of his schedule and the president’s gripes about it.
Presidential schedules obtained by Politico show that last Tuesday alone, Trump had nine hours of “Executive Time” — three times as much unstructured free time as he had scheduled for actual presidential duties, like meetings, briefings, and public appearances. That day, he had blocks of as long as two hours and 45 minutes to just … chill, we guess. (Some aides told Politico he makes presidential-related calls during these times, but he also went on a tirade on Twitter during one of his unscheduled blocks that week.) His schedule Tuesday was more lax than the other days that week, though his official duties still began no earlier than 11 a.m. every day last week.
Politico notes that other presidents have had erratic schedules in the past — Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter had a tendency to make late-night calls — past presidents tended to be “disciplined” in their schedules, with constant meetings and executive work. For instance, Barack Obama was pretty solidly booked throughout the day while he served. Obama would reportedly spend, on average, six to seven hours each day in policy meetings.
Well with all this downtime, hopefully Trump will get a chance to work on his umbrella-closing skills, at least.