Had everything gone to plan, President Trump would have spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve at Mar-a-Lago, his private resort in Palm Beach, Fla., as he usually does. He was all set to go, to join his wife and son there, when, in the middle of December, he suddenly decided to do something else: force a partial government shutdown to try to secure funding for a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico. The trip to Florida was canceled; the first lady returned to Washington, and that’s where Trump has remained ever since.
He even joked about it Wednesday before his Cabinet meeting.
“It’s too important a subject to walk away from,” he said of his funding push. “I was here on Christmas evening. I was all by myself in the White House. It’s a big, big house. Except for all the guys out on the lawn with machine guns. Nicest machine guns I’ve ever seen.”
So he stayed in Washington to fight over funding and then . . . didn’t really do much.
It has been a really remarkably quiet period for Trump. Sure, it’s a period that overlapped with the holidays, during which there isn’t a whole lot going on anyway. At the end of 2017, Trump spent days playing golf in Mar-a-Lago, not exactly burning the midnight oil poring over briefing documents. But that was a time when there was no shutdown — and when he didn’t specifically stay in Washington to deal with the “too important” subject of funding.
A compilation of Trump’s daily schedule since his inauguration shows how empty his official calendar has been of late. There was the trip to Iraq shortly after Christmas, but since then not a lot. The White House didn’t release public schedules for many of the days that the government has been shut down, but pool reports indicate that not much was going on. A dinner with Vice President Pence last Friday was one of the few exceptions.
It has been more than a month since Trump even played golf, the longest stretch of his presidency. It has been more than a month since he held a rally. There are only sporadic public meetings.
He’s not even tweeting that much. There’s this idea that, on days when he’s unoccupied, he tweets a lot, but that’s not really true. Since July 1, 2018, he has tweeted, on average, 11.1 times a day. Over the past week, he has tweeted an average of 8.4 times a day. (On days without anything on his schedule since July 1, he has tweeted an average of 9.9 times a day, compared with 11.4 times on days when his calendar lists events.)
We aren’t the first to note Trump’s inactivity, certainly, but it’s still worth mentioning. After all, he’s engaged in a protracted fight with his political opponents over funding a (broadly unpopular) wall, and had Washington practically to himself for nearly two weeks. But for the most part, he stayed hunkered down in the White House behind those machine guns.
There, as usual, he watched a steady stream of Fox News.