It is incredibly foolhardy to call attention to any lull in the melodrama emanating from the West Wing. You don’t pull on Superman’s cape; you don’t spit into the wind; you don’t say, “hey, slow news day!” Noting that not much is going on has the same effect on political watchers as grabbing the announcer’s mic at Wrigley Field and yelling, “He’s got a perfect game going into the seventh inning!” It may be true, but it’s an unforgivable jinx.
CNN’s Manu Raju noted Tuesday evening on Twitter that the president’s schedule over the past five days had been consistently light. A smattering of private events (a fundraiser in McLean, Va., and closed-door meetings), but nothing public. At the same time, Trump’s Twitter activity had tapered significantly, with two days during that period when Trump had only tweeted once. (Once!)
From the perspective of Trump making news, it’s been a slow period.
We can visualize that. As of noon Wednesday, here’s what Trump’s past two months have looked like in the West Wing and on Twitter. (Explanation to follow.)
There are a number of ways in which events on Trump’s schedule are categorized. Some are open press, meaning that reporters are able to interact with the president. Some limit availability to the White House press pool or to pre-credentialed members of the media. Some events are just photo sprays, in which the White House photographers are given access to take photos. And some — most — are closed press. The media is not allowed, for example, to sit in on Trump’s daily briefing, to our chagrin. Some days, Trump travels to Mar-a-Lago or to events; those are indicated with dots above.
The last time Trump was this secluded from the public eye in terms of his daily schedule was in the aftermath of the resignation of Rob Porter, the White House staff secretary who left the West Wing in February after it was reported that he lacked security clearance thanks to his ex-wives telling the FBI about physical and verbal abuse.
In the week after that resignation, Trump had 23 events on his schedule — 18 of which were closed press. (The other five were photo sprays.) He tweeted 31 times, an average of 4.4 times a day. (He tweeted 36 times the week prior.)
In the past five days, Trump’s had only eight events, all closed. He’s tweeted 21 times (thanks to three tweets after noon on Wednesday). In a normal five-day period, he tweets 28 times.
Despite the apparent lack of activity, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds that the president has been keeping busy.
We will note that there was something that happened recently which Trump probably isn’t very interested in discussing: The “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday with Stormy Daniels, the adult-film actress who alleges that she and Trump had a one-night stand in 2006. By avoiding the media (and avoiding the subject on Twitter), Trump may think that he can let the — ahem — storm pass.
Trump does have a public event planned Thursday. He’s traveling to Richfield, Ohio, to discuss infrastructure. Then it’s back to West Palm Beach, Fla., and Mar-a-Lago. There is likely to be one event this weekend: Trump traditionally oversees the Easter egg hunt at his private resort.
Last year, it was closed press. Nor was it included on his calendar.