Everyone confined to home during the COVID-19 pandemic deals with the angst, inconvenience, and boredom differently. President Trump, though not like any other American in most regards, begins and ends his day in front of the TV, arriving in the Oval Office as late as noon and “usually in a sour mood after his morning marathon of television,” Katie Rogers and Annie Karni report at The New York Times, piecing together the president’s “strange new life” through interviews with more than a dozen administration officials and close advisers.
By the time he arrives at work, Trump “has been up in the White House master bedroom as early as 5 a.m. watching Fox News, then CNN, with a dollop of MSNBC thrown in for rage viewing,” the Times reports. “The president sees few allies no matter which channel he clicks. He is angry even with Fox, an old security blanket, for not portraying him as he would like to be seen.”
Trump calls advisers with the TV on, stews about internal polls showing him losing support in some swing states, sits through his intelligence briefing, and gets tested for COVID-19 once a week, the Times reports. “But the president’s primary focus, advisers said, is assessing how his performance on the virus is measured in the news media, and the extent to which history will blame him.” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told the Times that Trump’s “highest priority is the health and safety of the American people,” not his news coverage.
It isn’t all grim. Trump looks forward to his 90-minute-plus press briefings every evening, viewing them “as prime-time shows that are the best substitute for the rallies he can no longer attend but craves,” Rogers and Karni report. And if he doesn’t work too late, Trump “occasionally has dinner with his wife, Melania Trump, and their son, Barron.” Read more about the president’s lockdown schedule at The New York Times. Peter Weber