The White House is aggressively investigating several leaks of President Donald Trump’s private schedules, a source of repeated embarrassment to the White House and the president himself.
West Wing officials managing the hunt have enlisted the help of the White House IT office, and believe they are making progress in narrowing the search for potential suspects. One Trump official said the culprit is likely a career government employee who works in the White House, not a person appointed by Trump himself, but did not offer specific evidence.
The search has been approved by the office of acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and Trump himself — who has been infuriated by leaks from within his White House — is aware of the mole hunt and supports the effort, according to one of the officials.
Axios on Sunday published Trump’s private schedules for the past three months that showed how he spent 60 percent of his time in unscheduled “executive time.” Aides say he uses those time blocks to watch TV, call people, read newspapers and do other work. Based on a week’s worth of these same private schedules, POLITICO had also reported in October Trump’s extensive amount of free time that’s unprecedented for presidents, including nine hours of “executive time” in one day.
Critics have ridiculed those time blocks, suggesting that they reveal a lazy and disengaged commander in chief who doesn’t take his job seriously. But White House officials and Trump allies insist such barbs are unfair, saying that the president actually makes productive use of his time.
“He’s not a slacker. The guy works. He may not have it all scheduled but the guy’s a grinder,” David Urban, a former senior Trump campaign adviser, said in an interview. “He’s not a guy who sits on his hands. Just because it’s not listed on the schedule,” that doesn’t mean that Trump isn’t doing substantive work. “I think it’s more the betrayal of who would give it up, more than anything,” Urban added.
On Twitter last week, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich even favorably compared Trump to the late British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who often worked in bed while wearing pajamas, and said leaders’ schedules should be evaluated based on “achievement not activity.”