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The following are excerpts from Jack Holmes' February 4, 2019 article headlined "Trump's ‘Executive Time’ Is Just as Appalling As You Thought It Was" with the subheading "The president spends a huge amount of his time watching Fox News and tweeting and playing golf. Maybe that's better than the alternative."|
At some point, being the President of the United States became a cushy job. It was probably around the time we elected a know-nothing real-estate crook who billed himself as a Businessman who makes Business Deals. But now that the White House is graced with the presence of Donald Trump, American president, it seems the job has gotten a whole lot easier. Maybe El Jefe is just that smart, and just that efficient with his time, that he can afford to spend 60 percent of it watching cable news and tweeting and calling people to talk about what he sees on the teevee....
Trump, an early riser, usually spends the first 5 hours of the day in Executive Time. Each day's schedule places Trump in "Location: Oval Office" from 8 to 11 a.m. But Trump, who often wakes before 6 a.m., is never in the Oval during those hours, according to six sources with direct knowledge. Instead, he spends his mornings in the residence, watching TV, reading the papers, and responding to what he sees and reads by phoning aides, members of Congress, friends, administration officials and informal advisers.
There are days where he has half an hour of scheduled meetings and seven hours of Executive Time. Since the midterms in November, Trump has had around 77 hours of scheduled meetings and 297 hours of Executive Time. Axios grants that he has some unscheduled get-togethers and actual work-related calls during these very presidential periods. But what percentage of those seven hours is he just melting his brain with more cable news? We know for sure that a good share of his morning Executive Time is devoted to watching Fox & Friends, the dumbest show on television, which he then live tweets verbatim as God's own gospel. This has made it one of his core sources—if not his number-one source—for information. Steve Doocy is running the country, at least whenever Ann Coulter takes a day off....
Citing multiple in-person episodes, these intelligence officials say Trump displays what one called “willful ignorance” when presented with analyses generated by America’s $81 billion-a-year intelligence services. The officials, who include analysts who prepare Trump’s briefs and the briefers themselves, describe futile attempts to keep his attention by using visual aids, confining some briefing points to two or three sentences, and repeating his name and title as frequently as possible.
What is most troubling...are Trump’s angry reactions when he is given information that contradicts positions he has taken or beliefs he holds. Two intelligence officers even reported that they have been warned to avoid giving the President intelligence assessments that contradict stances he has taken in public....
Jesus Christ. The president is not known as a Book Reader, but it continually astounds just how fundamentally incurious he is about the world. He doesn't know much, and he doesn't much care. He's a walking case study for the Dunning-Kruger effect, where ignorant people are ignorant of how ignorant they are, and so actually believe they know everything there is to know. (On the flip side, well-informed people are often more acquainted with the vast amount of knowledge they still do not have. This leads them to be less confident about their skills and abilities.) The president doesn't know what he doesn't know, so he thinks he knows it all.
Sunday's schedule leak is not at all surprising to anyone who's been watching this ongoing national disgrace. It's not just how painfully obvious it is that Trump spends a reported four to eight hours watching television each day. (Just look at an account from his former aide in Team of Vipers, which suggests Trump engages in some characteristic projection while giving White House tours, accusing President Obama of watching basketball all day, pause for appreciation of racist undertones, in the same room where he installed a giant new TV to watch cable news all day. That is, when he's not watching cable news in the White House Residence.) He also spends a gigantic share of his time playing golf.
According to the Washington Post, the president just took an unprecedented 63-day break from visiting Trump Organization properties while in office. When he is visiting, it has the effect of advertising for those properties, of which Trump retained full ownership despite a sham divestment, while he's purportedly serving the American public. Another side-hustle in The Great American Heist. He took the break, and admirably so, because he'd single-handedly shut down the government over funding for his Big, Beautiful Wall, and it might have looked bad to go down to sunny Florida while 800,000 federal workers were missing paychecks.
But his record of visiting his properties, and playing lots and lots of golf there, is astounding.
But Trump has passed a perhaps more notable milestone: He has gone over two solid calendar months without playing golf. Until about September, Trump played golf at a prodigious pace. It was rare that he would go more than a week or two without playing a round, either heading to his private club in Virginia or flying to New Jersey or Florida to play at one of his clubs. Once September rolled around, though, the pace slowed as he replaced his primary form of exercise with his other energizing pastime — holding political rallies — as the midterm elections approached....
The result? He’s now averaging a round of golf about once every 5.4 days, down substantially from the pace of once every 4.6 days he was playing at the end of his vacation in New Jersey in August. In fact, this is the slowest overall average rate he’s seen since his August vacation in 2017.
That is still an amazing amount of time spent playing golf, which Trump and his aides have sought to obscure—again via the Post:
When Trump plays with private citizens, the White House does not release the names or acknowledge that he is playing at all, though video footage taken through the shrubs has captured him. Aides say on occasion, members at his clubs have given the president bad ideas they’ve had to thwart.
There’s another reason for the caginess. The president “insisted on trying to maintain the public perception that he was always working,” former White House staffer Cliff Sims wrote in his book, “Team of Vipers,” explaining why the White House rarely says he golfs.
Another reason is that it's another example of his rank hypocrisy. Trump attacked Obama relentlessly for playing golf—in line with conservative suggestions the first black president was "disengaged," another piece of obvious code—and then played golf nearly twice as often for much of his presidency. According to the Post, to match Obama's record of playing every 8.8 days in office, Trump would have to never play a single round until May 2020. If this weekend is anything to go on, he ain't gonna make it:...
Anyway, it's all just reassurance that everything is exactly as it appears. The president spends a huge share of his time contracting brain disease from cable news and tweeting about it. Some other time is spent calling his old friends, who reassure him he's doing great and all his problems are caused by The Very Biased Media and The Open-Borders Democrats. And some, I assume, is spent being president.... (End excerpts)