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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Trump’s fancy-free scheduling approach is no mistake. In "The Art of the Deal," he explained that he thought too much planning curbed his creativity and impeded his thinking. That philosophy is alive and well in the White House, according to more than half a dozen current and former officials.

Between the lines: Trump believes to his core, one former senior White House official told Axios, that he's better off not preparing for some meetings. He thinks preparation hinders his ability to read the room and act with spontaneity, this former aide said.

  • "I play it very loose," Trump wrote in 'The Art of the Deal."
  • "I don't carry a briefcase. I try not to schedule too many meetings. I leave my door open. You can't be imaginative or entrepreneurial if you've got too much structure. I prefer to come to work each day and just see what develops."

One of the key challenges for his staff: He doesn't like long or complex documents.

  • He'll skim newspaper articles, news summaries and bullet points, but hates anything longer. So his evening briefings look quite different from his predecessors'.
  • "Trump does review briefing materials, at least if you make it a point to have him do so," said a former senior White House official who has direct knowledge of Trump's reading habits. "But only if you talk and guide him through it as he's reading."
  • Trump receives national security materials and news summaries every evening. But the package is more visual than those of his predecessors, with screenshots from the Drudge Report homepage, pictures of his own tweets and snapshots of cable news chyrons from throughout the day, according to people who've seen Trump's nightly briefing packages.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Poll: Large majorities support Biden over Trump on major policy issues

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

As Election Day gets closer, Joe Biden leads President Trump by sizable margins on the major issues of the day, according to a national poll by The New York Times and Siena College.

Why it matters: With only two weeks to go before election day, there's little time for Trump make up the gap between he and Biden on the issues voters care deeply about. These include a new multi-trillion dollar stimulus program, mandatory mask-wearing, and a $2 trillion renewable energy package. Voters are also now evenly split on who will better manage the economy — a blow to Trump as he's led on the issue for much of the campaign.

Why migrants are fleeing their homes for the U.S.

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios Photo: Herika Martinez /Getty Images 

Natural disasters in Central America, economic devastation, gang wars, political oppression, and a new administration are all driving the sharp rise in U.S.-Mexico border crossings — a budding crisis for President Biden.

Why it matters: Migration flows are complex and quickly politicized. Biden's policies are likely sending signals that are encouraging the surge — but that's only a small reason it's happening.

Cities' pandemic struggle to balance homelessness and public safety

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Addressing homelessness has taken on new urgency in cities across the country over the past year, as officials grapple with a growing unhoused population and the need to preserve public safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: It’s led to tension when cities move in to clear encampments — often for health and safety reasons — causing some to rethink the role of law enforcement when interacting with people experiencing homelessness.