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President Trump is starting his official day much later than he did in the early days of his presidency, often around 11am, and holding far fewer meetings, according to copies of his private schedule shown to Axios. This is largely to meet Trump’s demands for more “Executive Time,” which almost always means TV and Twitter time alone in the residence, officials tell us.
The schedules shown to me are different than the sanitized ones released to the media and public.
The schedule says Trump has "Executive Time" in the Oval Office every day from 8am to 11am, but the reality is he spends that time in his residence, watching TV, making phone calls and tweeting. Trump comes down for his first meeting of the day, which is often an intelligence briefing, at 11am.
That's far later than George W. Bush, who typically arrived in the Oval by 6:45am. Obama worked out first thing in the morning and usually got into the Oval between 9 and 10am, according to a former senior aide.
Trump's days in the Oval Office are relatively short – from around 11am to 6pm, then he's back to the residence. During that time he usually has a meeting or two, but spends a good deal of time making phone calls and watching cable news in the dining room adjoining the Oval. Then he's back to the residence for more phone calls and more TV. Take these random examples from this week's real schedule:
Trump's schedule wasn't always like this. In the earliest days of the Trump administration it began earlier and ended later. Trump would have breakfast meetings (e.g. hosting business leaders in the Roosevelt Room). He didn't like the longer official schedule and pushed for later starts. The morning intelligence briefing ended up settling around 10:30am.
Aides say Trump is always doing something — he's a whirl of activity and some aides wish he would sleep more — but his time in the residence is unstructured and undisciplined. He's calling people, watching TV, tweeting, and generally taking the same loose, improvisational approach to being president that he took to running the Trump Organization for so many years. Old habits die hard.
In response to this article, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders wrote:
Three sources with direct knowledge tell me White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter — regarded as one of the biggest brains in the building — has received overtures from major companies and organizations wanting to poach him from the Trump administration.
I'm told Porter has not yet seriously entertained an offer, and has made no decisions about his future. Top White House officials are keen to keep him in the building.
Porter has expressed an interest in playing a larger role in coordinating policy throughout the Trump administration.
Porter is rare in the sense that he's close to people on both sides of the White House policy debate — he has a close working relationship with both Gary Cohn and Stephen Miller, for example. He's a lawyer with strong Capitol Hill connections and helps General Kelly control the paper flow to Trump's desk. Porter also presides over the weekly trade policy meetings in the Roosevelt Room.
Trump steps off Marine One after returning from Camp David. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images
After his days of rage following the release of Michael Wolff's controversial book, President Trump spent some welcome time with his allies at Camp David.
A source familiar with the discussions — involving top administration officials and congressional leaders — told me the talks were important, above all, to re-establish a "feeling of camaraderie" after a rough few days. Trump was "very loose," the source added, "telling a lot of jokes to keep people in a good place."
Highlights from the private conversations, per sources familiar with them:
Big picture: Republican sources involved in the negotiations tell me they expect Democrats will not agree to a spending deal until Republicans make a deal with them to save DACA — the Obama-era program that temporarily protects immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children. You'll hear plenty about DACA in the coming days but the reality is there's very little chance they'll agree on a DACA bill in the next 10 days.
We expect Congress will agree on yet another short-term funding deal — aka kicking the can down the road — to avoid a shutdown on Jan. 19. Then you'll probably see Republicans escalate their rhetoric, trying to blame Democrats for shutting down the government over DACA.
The House will vote on a resolution declaring it "stands with the people of Iran that are engaged in legitimate and peaceful protests against an oppressive, corrupt regime."
The Senate has four district court judges to confirm. Discussions over a budget caps deal and government funding — the Jan. 19 deadline for a government shutdown is fast approaching — will continue.
Sean Spicer had a rough trot as White House press secretary but one fact was undeniable: the guy — as Trump often noted admiringly — got terrific ratings.
Away from the podium, it appears Spicer can still bring in an audience. On Thursday night, he sat with SE Cupp for the full hour on her show on the relatively obscure network HLN. I wouldn't even know where to find HLN with my remote, but Axios' media editor Sara Fischer emails to tell me the Spicer show far outperformed Cupp's usual ratings:
I asked Spicer about the ratings bump, and whether he harbored any TV aspirations. He declined to comment.
Flashback: San Francisco Chronicle: "Sean Spicer Hands Kimmel a Rare Ratings Win Over Fallon."