President Donald Trump has spent around 60 percent of his working hours since last year’s midterm elections sequestered in “executive time” at the White House, according to copies of his personal schedule obtained by Axios.
The outlet on Sunday published Trump’s private schedule for almost every working day for the past three months, obtaining them from an unnamed White House source. The documents reveal that the president has spent some 300 hours in executive time, an unstructured period Axios said was a catch-all time for watching television, making phone calls to advisers and friends and reading the news.
The schedules appear to identify 77 hours of official meetings during that stretch, and 38 hours of events. On some days, Axios noted, Trump has spent almost the entire working day in executive time, including the day after the Nov. 7 midterm elections with 7 hours.
The White House has reportedly reverted to at least some of the chaos from the early days of the Trump administration since the departure of then-chief of staff John Kelly. The Washington Post noted this weekend that acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney only meets with the president twice a day, morning and evening, and has said he doesn’t serve as a gatekeeper to the Oval Office like his predecessor did. And a book published last month by Cliff Sims, a former staffer, described the White House as “out of control.”
Axios noted that the use of “executive time” on Trump’s schedule doesn’t mean the president wasn’t working during those periods. He has a more detailed schedule that includes a few extra meetings per day and many of his discussions with staff are spur of the moment.
“The president sometimes has meetings during Executive Time that he doesn’t want most West Wing staff to know about for fear of leaks,” the outlet’s Alexi McCammond and Jonathan Swan wrote. “And his mornings sometimes include calls with heads of state, political meetings and meetings with counsel in the residence, which aren’t captured on these schedules.”
The leak has already prompted outrage in the White House. The president’s personal secretary, Madeleine Westerhout, lambasted the schedule’s release and said Trump was “working harder for the American people than anyone in recent history.”
“What a disgraceful breach of trust to leak schedules,” Westerhout wrote on Sunday. “What these meetings don’t show are the hundreds of calls and meetings @realDonaldTrump takes everyday.”
It’s not the first instance where Trump’s use of “executive time” has come under fire. The president has regularly leaned on the designation for more than a year, according to schedules from early 2018 that were also obtained by Axios.