Donald Trump Is Not Doing His Job

BEN TAUBER: On January 20th, 2017, Donald Trump was inaugurated and in doing so took an oath to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and ... to the best of [his] ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” A recent leak of the president’s schedule to Axios, the American public has been presented with two possible truths: either President Trump is intentionally violating the oath of office, or the best of his ability is not what the office of President of the United States demands from its holders.

The president’s schedule is littered with “Executive Time,” a euphemism for what officials describe as time spent in the residence watching or reading the news and discussing the headlines in conversations with friends, aides, and members of Congress. Essentially, the president spends around 60% of his time doing what any habitual viewer of cable news does, except a habitual cable news viewer does not have to run the United States. Furthermore, President Trump usually does not start his day until 11:00 or 11:30 a.m., meaning that he is held to a lesser standard of punctuality than that held by most employers in the country. Since the midterm elections, President Trump has dedicated almost 4 times the amount he spends in meetings to “Executive Time.”

In all fairness to the President, the schedule published by Axios is somewhat incomplete, as it does not contain certain meetings only published in a schedule kept within a much closer circle as well as meetings kept in secret under the guise of Executive Time in order to avoid leaks. However, this does not take away from the overall point: that President Trump does not work how we would expect the average employee to work, let alone the President of the United States. In today’s charged political climate filled with evolving debates on policy and crises both domestic and foreign, the president simply cannot afford to be lazy. Yet that is what is he is being.And rather than perhaps cutting back on this Executive Time, the White House is defending it, calling it “a different leadership style” that facilitates a “more creative environment” for the President. Behind the spin, however, is a West Wing embarrassed and furiously seeking out the source of the leak, according to a recent Politico report. Like many of us, the administration is embarrassed because it projects an image of a president who is unfocused and unable to rise to the task at hand, which makes him and the United States look weak. As “creative” as this time may allow President Trump to be, leadership from bed and leadership-by-tweet is not and will never be a realistic or effective strategy. That can only change if the president is in the office receiving intelligence briefings and holding meetings rather than commenting on what he finds out for the first time on Fox & Friends.

If President Trump wanted to spend hours of his day resting and watching the news, he could have done that from his gold-plated penthouse in Manhattan. Regardless of political affiliation, the American people count on the president to be a person who is willing to work long hours without rest in order to ensure that the state of the nation, and that of the world, remain strong. If one thing is now clear, it is that Donald Trump is simply not that person.

Max Magid