‘Executive time’: Trump mocked for taking it easy- but so did other presidents

Historians say Trumps erratic schedule is unusual but not unprecedented: Nixon and Eisenhower liked a sleep, and Woodrow Wilson tried to play golf every day

The recent report that Donald Trump expends much of his day on “executive time”- ie watching television and tweeting- has been taken as the most recent indication of Trump’s unusual presidency. The news, first reported by Axios, chimes with reports from the New York Times last year that Trump watched cable news for up to eight hours a day.

The White House pushed back heavily at research reports. Spokesman Hogan Gidley told reporters on Monday:” To describe[ Trump’s] run ethic as anything other than yeomanlike is ridiculous, and everyone knows it .”

However, while presidential historians received the degree to which Trump engraved time out of his work day to be unusual, they said the practice itself have all along been precedent.

Historian Evan Thomas told the Guardian that Nixon- who” couldn’t sleep and was an insomniac”- used to have” personnel hour” on his calendar every afternoon in order to take naps.

Eisenhower had built in nap-time in the White House as well, he said.

Even Trump’s love for golf was not unusual. Eisenhower played golf more than 800 days during his eight years in the White House, according to Thomas -although Woodrow Wilson is likely the all-time record holder. Wilson, the 28 th chairman, tried to play golf every day.

However, Wilson’s administration was very different from Trump’s because he did not have what Trump recently called” a nuclear button” on his desk. As Thomas noted, Dwight Eisenhower was the first president with thermonuclear weapons, who was ” thinking about the power to end the world “.

Of American leaders from this modern era, Trump has been most often compared to Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan, two presidents who also came under flame from liberals for their work ethic.

The liberal image of Eisenhower, said David Karol of the University of Maryland, was ” a golfer” who” wasn’t doing much”, but historians now find him as having been” much more on top of things and a more canny, manipulative figure than Democrats and liberals knew at the time “.

The popular image of Reagan, Karol said, was also of someone” not putting in that many hours, either”, but he said that a top aide in the Reagan White House had insisted to him that Reagan” was not lazy” but” he was just working in his own route, believing deep thoughts “.

In contrast to Trump, Karol noted,” if Reagan was taking a nap or watching an old movie, people didn’t know. His doorway was closed, “hes in” the Oval Office, he was in the mansion, but with Trump because he’s tweeting and his tweets in many cases are clearly inspired by some Fox News segment merely 10 minutes ago, it’s pretty obvious what he’s spending his time doing, at least in the early part of the day .”

Walter Shapiro, a veteran political reporter who also ran in the Carter administration, said that the obsession with presidential work ethic merely dated back to the Eisenhower era, when” Democrat used to wartime presidents and a hyperactive New Deal president like Roosevelt made a big deal about all the golfing Eisenhower did as chairman. All of this got set into a mindset that the harder you worked as chairman, the very best chairman you were .”

Shapiro said that Jimmy Carter laboring long hours led to worse outcomes:” That extra hour for micromanagement induced things worse not better .”

He felt comfortable with Trump’s lax schedule.” My feeling is I want Trump to work as a little as humanly possible. When you have someone who can’t absorb information and has no interest in policy … I observed the best news that he’s now running four hours a day .”

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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