In his first days in office, President Trump is taking on a dizzying schedule that is decidedly different from those of his immediate predecessors.
Trump is in the Oval Office to take meetings earlier than President Obama, and he’s worked through dinner to stay in the West Wing later than President George W. Bush, who would generally return to his residence at 6 p.m. sharp.
Trump doesn’t like to read books, those who know him say. And he doesn’t work out because he believes it’s an energy drain, according to the 2016 book “Trump Revealed.”
“When you’re making speeches for 25,000 people and shouting and screaming and having fun with everybody and making America great again, you get a lot of exercise,” he told People magazine last summer.
Trump does like to watch TV, and he is partial to cable news. On Tuesday night, he tweeted about sending help to Chicago shortly after Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s show aired a segment about crime in the city.
One Trump ally familiar with the president’s routines said his White House schedule is similar to the one he’s held for years, and described him as “a late-night guy and early morning riser.”
“His body clock is one that is very conducive to running on little sleep,” the ally said, adding that Trump is known to get up before 6 a.m.
The White House has to adapt to each new occupant, including their management styles and lifestyles.
Obama sent a clear message to aides early on that he intended to be home for dinner with his family. But after dinner, the self-dubbed “night guy” would make his way into his personal office in the Treaty Room and resume work, tweaking his speeches and sending emails to staff.
Bush, also an early riser, started his day by getting his wife, former first lady Laura Bush, her coffee and reading the morning papers.
He told his advisers he wanted to be in the Oval Office at 7 a.m. on the dot. But he indicated he wanted downtime in the evenings to exercise and liked to be in bed no later than 10 p.m. and often earlier, Bush’s aides recalled.
Trump’s pace is a bit more frantic, and many of his daily events are being captured by television cameras in his first week in office.
The 70-year-old is living as a weekday bachelor in the 132-room mansion, as the first lady, Melania Trump, is set to be in New York through the school year with the couple’s son, 10-year-old Barron. Melania will be back for weekends and may come to live in Washington, after the school year.
“It’s a robust schedule,” one White House aide said. “He isn’t wasting any time. He said he was going to go to work for the American people, and that’s what he’s doing.”
This week, Trump has packed his days with meetings with business leaders and auto industry executives and calls to world leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India.
He has also invited Senate leadership to the White House and had individual meetings, including one with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
But former White House aides have noticed one thing largely missing from his schedule: the presidential daily briefing. Trump has only received the briefing, set up as a meeting with advisers, once this week — on Monday morning.
Both Bush and Obama typically received the briefing in person. But White House officials say even though Trump hasn’t chosen to receive the briefing in person, he has received a hard copy of it each day.
Bradley Blakeman, who served as the deputy assistant to Bush for appointments and scheduling, said the lack of the daily briefing on Trump’s calendar isn’t unusual.
“Every person has their own style,” Blakeman said, adding that Bush preferred to receive his in person at the start of his day.
“The goal of the president is his time,” he continued, adding that he would build in an hour and a half for Bush’s lunch each day and 45 of minutes of administrative time in the morning and again in the afternoon.
“I wanted the president to have the schedule more in his head than in his pocket,” he said.
In some ways, Trump’s transition to office has been more seamless than those of his predecessors.
After all, he knows what it’s like to live above the store. After working late as president of the Trump Organization, he would routinely take the elevator upstairs to his Trump Tower penthouse.
But without his immediate family regularly around for now, Trump especially “wants to keep himself busy,” Blakeman predicted.
“Because when you go up [to the residence] at 6 p.m., what are you going to do?” he said. “Without your wife and your kid, you’re pretty lonely. And being president is a lonely job.”