Saturday the NY Times published a story on President Trump’s daily habits in the White House. The story claims that Trump watches 4 to 8 hours of television per day though it’s not clear how much of this is with the sound on:
Around 5:30 each morning, President Trump wakes and tunes into the television in the White House’s master bedroom. He flips to CNN for news, moves to “Fox & Friends” for comfort and messaging ideas, and sometimes watches MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” because, friends suspect, it fires him up for the day…
People close to him estimate that Mr. Trump spends at least four hours a day, and sometimes as much as twice that, in front of a television, sometimes with the volume muted, marinating in the no-holds-barred wars of cable news and eager to fire back…
The ammunition for his Twitter war is television. No one touches the remote control except Mr. Trump and the technical support staff — at least that’s the rule. During meetings, the 60-inch screen mounted in the dining room may be muted, but Mr. Trump keeps an eye on scrolling headlines. What he misses he checks out later on what he calls his “Super TiVo,” a state-of-the-art system that records cable news.
Watching cable, he shares thoughts with anyone in the room, even the household staff he summons via a button for lunch or for one of the dozen Diet Cokes he consumes each day.
The story goes on to say that Trump is sensitive about his viewing habits, aware that watching too much television is seen as a sign he’s not taking his job seriously. The Times reports that when Trump learned his viewing habits would be part of the article above, he spoke about it with reporters while on a trip in Asia. “I do not watch much television,” he said. He added, “I know they like to say — people that don’t know me — they like to say I watch television.” President Trump made a similar denial this morning on Twitter:
Another false story, this time in the Failing @nytimes, that I watch 4-8 hours of television a day – Wrong! Also, I seldom, if ever, watch CNN or MSNBC, both of which I consider Fake News. I never watch Don Lemon, who I once called the “dumbest man on television!” Bad Reporting.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2017
Back in May, Time magazine published a similar story on Trump in which the President showed off one of his latest additions to the White House, a 60-inch flat screen television:
“You’ll see something that is amazing. It just happened,” he says as he stands up from the desk. “Come on, I’ll show you.”…the thing he wants to show is on the opposite wall, above the fireplace, a new 60-plus-inch flat-screen television that he has cued up with clips from the day’s Senate hearing on Russia. Since at least as far back as Richard Nixon, Presidents have kept televisions in this room, usually small ones, no larger than a bread box, tucked away on a sideboard shelf. That’s not the Trump way.
…for now, Trump is focused on his TV. He watches the screen like a coach going over game tape, studying the opposition, plotting next week’s plays. “This is one of the great inventions of all time—TiVo,” he says as he fast-forwards through the hearing.
So, this morning’s tweet aside, I don’t think the President is going to get a correction on this story. His fondness for morning TV watching seems fairly well established over the past year. On the other hand, it sounds like much of his TV time during the day involves scanning headlines with the sound off while doing other things. How much of the time he’s really watching to the exclusion of other things is unclear. The Times story says he returns to the TV at night after dinner.
Here’s a CNN report from Sunday on the NY Times article.