As he has dozens of times as president, Donald Trump cut out of work a bit early on Friday, walking out of the White House to board Marine One before flying to one of his private company’s resort properties for the weekend.
This Friday, Trump’s departure was a bit earlier than normal. He usually heads out to the helicopter at about 4 p.m. or so, forgoing that final hour of the typical American workweek. Why he has to leave at 4 isn’t clear. He takes a helicopter to catch a plane to New Jersey or Florida, depending on the season. In other words, he’s not tying up rush-hour traffic or anything, so why not just stick around until 5 like the rest of us?
I was curious just how often Trump is at the White House for what would, for the rest of us, be a normal workweek. How often, that is, was Trump at the White House at 9 a.m. on a Monday and then at 5 p.m. on a Friday?
The answer is: sometimes. Setting aside the week in which he was inaugurated and weeks in which he was traveling at the beginning of Monday or the end of Friday — even when that travel was to a campaign rally or to Camp David — I estimate that for 58 of 113 weeks he started Monday at work and finished Friday there, too. If he left after 5 p.m., I counted it as his working the full day. Nonetheless, in 55 weeks, he either wasn’t there on Monday or, more often, wasn’t there at the end of Friday. (In 21 weeks, he was traveling one or both of those days.)
Mind you, this doesn’t mean that Trump was sitting at the ol’ Resolute desk presidenting for all of that time. Usually, Trump’s official schedule begins well after 9 a.m., his mornings filled with “executive time.” He tends to have events past 5 p.m. with some regularity, but his official schedule nonetheless usually wraps up before the end of the day.
In fact, there has been no week that Trump has been president in which his official schedule began at or before 9 a.m. on Monday and ended at or after 5 p.m. on Friday. The closest was a week in which his first appointment Monday was at 9 a.m. and his final meeting on Friday began at or after 4 p.m. That was the week beginning Jan. 23, 2017 — his first full week as president.
Look, we understand that sometimes people don’t have to work on Mondays and Fridays. People take vacations. There are holidays.
But that’s not always why Trump isn’t around. He’s visited a Trump Organization property on 278 days as president, about twice a week on average. 159 of those days were weekends — meaning that 119 were weekdays. And no weekday was more common for a Trump visit than Friday.
(You can see a full calendar of Trump’s visits to his company’s properties at the bottom of this article.)
Being president is almost certainly a more stressful job than yours or mine. It involves being available 24 hours a day, no matter what happens. There’s no down time as president, really.
That said, Trump’s schedule has an awful lot of time built in that gets about as close to downtime as a president gets. That morning executive time — generally spent watching Fox News — and those numerous weekends spent in the familiar confines of his private resorts. On call all the time, sure, but any job in which you can manage a round of golf every 5.3 days, as Trump does, seems from a distance as though it can’t really be all that hectic.
By the way, when we say that he ducked out of the White House a bit early on this Friday? He left before 11 a.m. for some fundraisers in the Hamptons before heading back to his golf club in New Jersey.