A TV is on in the West Wing of the White House. Photo: Susan Walsh / AP
Read this sentence twice to understand this year and Trump: "Before taking office, Mr. Trump told top aides to think of each presidential day as an episode in a television show in which he vanquishes rivals."
- That's from a juicy N.Y. Times tour de force on the president's style and habits, "The President vs. the Presidency ... Inside Trump's Hour-by-Hour Battle for Self-Preservation," by Maggie Haberman, Glenn Thrush and Peter Baker.
It's been one helluva season for this Trump show:
- "Around 5:30 each morning, President Trump wakes and tunes into ... CNN for news, moves to 'Fox & Friends' for comfort and messaging ideas, and sometimes watches MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' because, friends suspect, it fires him up for the day."
- "Trump spends at least four hours a day, and sometimes as much as twice that, in front of a television, sometimes with the volume muted."
- "Watching cable, he shares thoughts with anyone in the room, even the household staff he summons via a button for lunch or for one of the dozen Diet Cokes he consumes each day."
- "Trump is an avid newspaper reader who still marks up a half-dozen papers with comments in black Sharpie pen ... [Steve] Bannon has told allies that Mr. Trump only 'reads to reinforce.'"
- "As he ends his first year in office, Mr. Trump is redefining what it means to be president. He sees the highest office in the land ... as a prize he must fight to protect every waking moment, and Twitter is his Excalibur. Despite all his bluster, he views himself less as a titan dominating the world stage than a maligned outsider engaged in a struggle to be taken seriously."
- "Trump still takes shots at Mark Cuban, a fellow rich-guy reality star, and expresses disappointment that Tom Brady ... has distanced himself."
- After dinner, he "sometimes 'hate-watches' CNN to get worked up, especially Don Lemon."
- "In between, it is time for phone calls ... In recent weeks, Mr. Trump's friends have noticed a different pitch, acknowledging that many aides and even his own relatives could be hurt by Mr. Mueller's investigation. As for himself, he has adopted a surprisingly fatalistic attitude ... 'It's life,' he said of the investigation."
- "From there it is off to bed for what usually amounts to five or six hours of sleep."
- Get your Sharpie out.
P.S. The article has this footnote: "Glenn Thrush contributed to this article before he was suspended pending the result of an investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior. Matt Apuzzo also contributed reporting."