If you look at President Donald Trump’s public schedule, you would notice that the White House staff has blocked off large chunks of time that are devoted to “Executive Time.”
These entries where the president is not meeting with advisors and officials and isn’t attending public events have been widely criticized by the president’s opponents, who have said the president is lazy and not as dedicated to the job as his predecessors.
But how does Donald Trump stack up when compared to other presidents? Is this a case of laziness, or is he being unfairly criticized?
This is — of course — a subjective question, and you can form your own opinion. However, history might be a better guide than political rhetoric.
In an article published by The Conversation, Iowa State University Professor Stacy A. Cordery takes a look at Trump’s “Executive Time” through the lense of history and shows that the idea of the hard-working president who never slows down and doesn’t rest is a fairly modern construct. You can read the whole article here.
According to Cordery, our popular view of the president as a workhorse or as the busiest man in the country comes from Teddy Roosevelt. Prior to Roosevelt, presidential power was weak and the true power in Washington was found in Congress.
Roosevelt expanded the powers of the presidency and created the image of the active, always-on president.
After Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan were all criticized for napping either as a habit or during important national moments. Trump, Obama and George W. Bush were all panned by their critics for playing golf.
Is Donald Trump lazy? That depends on who you compare him to. His level of activity may not stack up to Bill Clinton or John F. Kennedy, both of whom were younger when they took office, but he may be more active than William Howard Taft or Calvin Coolidge.