How Trump Spent His First Month In Office Versus How I Spent His First Month In Office
As of Monday, it has been 744 total hours since Trump took office. A lot has happened in those 744 hours. So much, in fact, that The Washington Post published this piece breaking down in a pie graph how Trump spent his first month in office, hour by hour.
WaPo correspondent Philip Bump divides Trump’s time in multiple ways, like amount of time spent in Washington, D.C. versus his time spent at Mar-a-Lago and other nearby Florida clubs. For example, Trump spent a little less than 75 percent of his first month in D.C. Bump’s analysis also makes a distinction between work time and non-work time. So, if we look at those hours spent in D.C., Trump spent a little less than half of his time working while in Washington.
I’m trying this new thing where I don’t immediately become outraged when I see news related to Trump and his administration. It’s going very... OK. I’ll admit, when I saw this piece my instinct was to grumble and make assumptions about better ways for a president to spend his or her time. Instead, I’m going to try to channel some of that outrage into introspection.
With The Washington Post’s statistical look at how Trump has spent his first 744 hours in office, it made me wonder: How have I spent Trump’s first month in office, by the numbers?
Here's the graph representing Bump's analysis of Trump's first 744 hours:
And here is a graph I made representing what I did during those 744 hours:
Let’s start with our respective methods of measurement.
For Trump: The Washington Post piece specifies that working and non-working hours was determined by the media’s call and dismissal times in the morning and evening. Bump acknowledges that this is obviously an incomplete measure of actual time spent working, as it doesn’t account for things like after-hour meetings or time spent reviewing documents. The analysis blends together those uncounted working out with downtime, like sleeping. Watching TV is also part of that downtime, which WaPo notes is “ impossible to measure.”
For me: I spent minutes and minutes trying to remember what I did yesterday, let alone in January. I work from home, so I subbed out media call/dismissal times for when I put on my work sweats/when I put on my sleepytime sweats. Finally, It’s important to note that I, too, do human things like sleep and have news cycle-induced stress diarrhea and watch TV. Those will also be accounted for in my downtime.
For Trump: Bump calculated it takes Trump an average of eight minutes and 20 seconds to draft a tweet. So, Trump spent an estimated 18 hours writing tweets in his first month as president.
For me: I broke my Twitter time down into time spent writing tweets and time spent reacting to tweets. This is an important distinction because, as you can see, a large portion of my time was spent making general gasping noises at Twitter updates. Because Trump tends to tweet in storms, it was often hard to tell when one gasp ended and another began. In those instances, I just counted it as one effing giant gasp. (And yes, "effing giant gasp" is a technical term.)
For Trump: In his first month, Trump spent 25 hours golfing. That’s the combined total of the six times he hit the links, five of which he played a full 18 holes.
For me: I don’t know the last time I even saw a golf club in real life. Also, I just had to Google “hit the links” to make sure it was referring to golf and not... uh... something else. So, I’ll round my time to a solid zero hours golfing.
This is no judgement on a president utilizing downtime. Being president is stressful, and who, if not the president, doesn’t need to chill out and hit links or whatever every once in awhile. It’d be pretty presumptuous to pass judgment on a president taking a break from running the free world for a moment.
For Trump: Bump estimates that much of Trump’s work time was comprised of just a few basic categories. Some work hours of note:
- Time spent in intelligence briefings: six hours
- Time spent in news conferences: four hours
- Time spent signing bills and executive orders: six hours
For me: When I was supposed to be doing my actual job, much my time was spent worrying about what Trump was doing. Some worrying hours of note:
- Time spent wondering why Trump wasn’t attending intelligence briefings: six hours
- Time spent reading fact-checked version of Trump’s news conferences: five hours
- Time spent reacting to Trump’s executive orders: 24 hours.
Contrary to some people’s belief, my job that pays actual human money does not involve attending protests. That isn’t to say I haven’t done work in terms of showing up for the ideas I support. Some estimated work hours of notes:
- Time spent marching and rallying: six hours
- Time on the phone to my representatives: one hour (A solid phone call to Congress only takes about five minutes, y’all. That's 12 phone calls I've made.)
- Getting generally educated AF on proposed policies and what to do about them: 31 hours. (My rule of thumb is an hour-ish a day keeps the fascism away.)
These numbers likely pale in comparison to other people taking democracy into their own hands by boycotting brands that normalize or condone Trump’s agenda, showing up in record numbers to protest, and being one of the 1.5 million calls to the Senate the week Betsy DeVos was confirmed.
There’s a lot of work to be done, but there’s also a lot of work we’ve already done. Trump has about another 34,248 hours while he’s in office. But so do you. What will you do with the next hour or two or 34,000?