Feb 3, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Why Trump swears off planning

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.

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Raising Bernie as Bernie rises

Trump supporters demonstrate against Sanders, April 15, 2019, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Bernie Sanders has surged to the front of the polls ahead of Monday's Iowa caucuses. And some of Trump's political advisers say they are doing their best to help him stay there.

Behind the scenes: "We're trying to promote the rise," said a Trump adviser. "The campaign has been pumping up the national messaging behind Bernie, pushing out fundraising emails. When you attack his policies, it gets the media to talk about him."

Senate approves trial resolution, teeing up final impeachment vote

The Senate approved a new organizing resolution along party lines Friday night that sets up a final vote on the articles of impeachment against President Trump next Wednesday afternoon.

What's next: The Senate is now adjourned until 11 a.m. on Monday, at which point House managers and Trump's counsel will be given two hours each for closing arguments.

Trump's defense team shifts from complacency to urgency

White House counsel Pat Cipollone arrives for the Senate impeachment trial. Photo: Olivier Doulery/AFP via Getty Images

Just days ago, Republicans were optimistic President Trump’s defense team could cruise to an acquittal by the end of this week, but many believe his lawyers now face a steep climb to stop a vote to allow new witnesses and drag out the impeachment proceedings.

The bottom line: Allegations in excerpts of former national security advisor John Bolton's forthcoming book — leaked to the New York Times for a story published Sunday night — have shifted the dynamic of the impeachment trial and threaten to upend Republicans' plans.

Go deeperArrowJan 28, 2020