The day after he arrived at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., earlier this month, President Trump offered a defensive explanation for his departure from Washington, which was expected to last for more than two weeks.
Working in Bedminster, N.J., as long planned construction is being done at the White House. This is not a vacation – meetings and calls!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2017
Not a vacation, he insisted! Meetings! Calls! It was a claim that was undercut a bit when a photo of Trump driving a golf cart at Bedminster that day was found on social media.
I'm at Trump Ntl for wedding – literally saw him cart past us twice driving same direction 2-3 hours apart. Suggests at least two rounds…
— Andrew Chen (@PandarangBlog) August 5, 2017
In recent days, though, Trump’s schedule has fleshed out a bit. Ever since he left Bedminster on Aug. 12 for a few days spent at the White House and Trump Tower, his public schedule has shown more meetings and calls. It’s still not as robust a schedule as seen in July, when Trump was at the White House, but it at least shows more of a work-leisure balance.
The charts below show three types of meetings: those open to the press, closed to the press and ones where the press was invited to take photos, known as a photo spray.
From July 18 to Aug. 4, Trump had 53 events on his calendar, excluding travel.
From Aug. 5 to 13, Trump had seven.
From Aug. 14 to 18, Trump had 12 events.
The public schedule doesn’t include everything Trump does each day, of course, which he tries to use to his advantage. It’s certainly true that a president is never truly off the clock and that there are a lot of activities that aren’t captured in the schedule that’s sent to the press.
Trump and his communications team have used that to their benefit, too, by downplaying the amount of time Trump spends doing things like playing golf. The White House never admits to Trump’s golf-playing, but there are often holes in his schedule or visits to his golf clubs that make those games obvious. By our estimate, his schedule looks something like this:
We’ve also become acclimated to the fact that Trump spends an exorbitant amount of time at properties that are linked to his private business, including during most of this month. Trump has visited one of his own properties for all or part of 34 percent of the days he’s been president. He visited a Trump-branded property every 2.9 days of his tenure and played golf once every 4.9 days.
But at least he now incorporates those meetings and calls into the visits.