On Feb. 3, Axios released Trump's supposed private schedules for almost every working day since the midterms by an anonymous source, and these schedules suggested Trump spends 60 percent of his working hours in "executive time." In an emailed response to Axios, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump's "executive time" is indicative of his "different leadership style." And she went so far as to argue that it has "helped make him the most productive President in modern history."
Trump's private schedules (which you can scan through in full) revealed that he has spent approximately 297 hours in scheduled blocks called "executive time," Axios noted. To put it in perspective, the publication notes that POTUS had approximately 77 hours scheduled for meetings related to policy planning, legislative strategy, and video recordings.
Sanders' full response to Axios came in an emailed statement, which reads,
President Trump has a different leadership style than his predecessors and the results speak for themselves. While he spends much of his average day in scheduled meetings, events, and calls, there is time to allow for a more creative environment that has helped make him the most productive President in modern history.
President Trump has ignited a booming economy with lower taxes and higher wages, established the USA as the #1 producer of oil and gas in the world, remade our judiciary, rebuilt our military, and renegotiated better trade deals. It’s indisputable that our country has never been stronger than it is today under the leadership of President Trump.
Axios' report didn't just stop with the leaked schedules, though: the publication reports that six sources with direct knowledge confirmed that Trump is never in the Oval Office from 8 to 11 a.m., even though his schedule places him there for "executive time." Instead, those sources maintain that POTUS spends his morning in his private residence, catching up on the news, watching television, and talking to a wide range of people (informal advisors, members of Congress, friends, and more.)
Not all of these sources were arguing for the president's lack of efficiency, though. One of the sources, a senior White House official, said to Axios, "He's always up to something; it's just not what you would consider typical structure."
Other members of Trump's administration condemned the person who leaked the schedules to Axios. Madeleine Westerholm, the director of Oval Office operations, tweeted, "What a disgraceful breach of trust to leak schedules. What these don’t show are the hundreds of calls and meetings
@realDonaldTrump takes everyday. This POTUS is working harder for the American people than anyone in recent history."
On the other hand, CNN's Jim Acosta challenged Sanders' statement about POTUS' executive time, saying on live air on the network, "[That's] in the eye of the beholder."
One of the issues that has been raised in this report is that because so much of this takes place over in the residence...there aren't the kinds of controls you normally have when somebody is in the Oval Office and you have....officials witnessing what is taking place.
Trump has not commented on the report yet. However, his aide Kellyanne Conway also stepped into the fray on Monday, saying to reporters on C-SPAN, "He's a very active president and the results speak for themselves."