Historians say Trumps erratic schedule is unusual but not unprecedented: Nixon and Eisenhower liked a nap, 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] work ethic as anything other than yeomanlike is ridiculous, and everyone knows it .”
However, while presidential historians determined the degree to which Trump carved 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” faculty period” on his calendar every afternoon in order to take sleeps.
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 periods during his eight years in the White House, according to Thomas -although Woodrow Wilson is probably the all-time record holder. Wilson, the 28 th chairwoman, 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 fire 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 see 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 way, guessing deep thoughts “.
In contrast to Trump, Karol noted,” if Reagan was taking a sleep or watching an old movie, people didn’t know. His door was closed, he was in the Oval Office, he was in the residence, but with Trump because he’s tweeting and his tweets in many cases are clearly inspired by some Fox News segment only 10 minutes ago, it’s pretty obvious what he’s spending his time doing, at the least in the early part of the day .”
Walter Shapiro, a veteran political reporter who also ran in the Carter administration, said that the preoccupation with presidential work ethic only dated back to the Eisenhower era, when” Democrat are applied to wartime presidents and a hyperactive New Deal president like Roosevelt made a big deal about all the golfing Eisenhower did as president. All of this got set into a mindset that the harder you worked as chairman, the very best chairperson you were .”
Shapiro said that Jimmy Carter laboring long hours led to worse outcomes:” That extra hour for micromanagement stimulated things worse not better .”
He felt comfy 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 those who are interested in policy … I detected the best news that he’s now running four hours a day .”
Read more: www.theguardian.com