Trump has embraced campaign rallies (but golf remains his true love)


Most of President Trump’s time is spent at the White House, where his public schedule includes various meetings centered on running the country. There’s a lot of unscheduled time, too, time spent in less formal meetings or, in the vernacular of his aides, on “executive time” — time often spent watching cable news broadcasts.

Less often, Trump heads out of the White House to attend a political round table or to tour a manufacturing plant or site of a disaster. Of his 629 days in office, by our count, Trump’s left Washington to attend a policy event or to travel overseas on 155 days. How this is calculated is fairly subjective, certainly, but it’s also not really the point of this article.

We know, too, that Trump likes to spend time visiting properties that he personally owns. He’s visited his golf course in Virginia more than 40 times and has spent all or part of more than 70 days at his private club in Bedminster, N.J. There, he usually plays golf, though it’s hard to determine how often. Trump, who excoriated former president Barack Obama for his frequent golf-playing, does his best to keep the frequency of his rounds out of the public eye. He’s only moderately successful at doing so; by our estimate, he’s golfed on 133 of the days he’s been president. That’s about once every 4.7 days.

He goes to his own properties more often still, about once every 3.1 days since he took office. It used to be that this was his primary way of letting off steam: slipping out of the Beltway to hit a few balls or just to relax in the comfortable confines of his familiar private properties.

In recent months, though, Trump has added a new favorite pastime. Over the past four months, Trump has held 20 different campaign rallies in Minnesota (twice), Mississippi, Florida, Pennsylvania (twice, including Wednesday evening), Tennessee, Nevada (twice), Ohio, West Virginia (twice), Kansas, Iowa, Montana (twice), South Carolina, Indiana and North Dakota. He’s expected to add trips to Kentucky and Ohio (again) this week.

Trump going to rallies isn’t new. That recent glut of rallies, though, looks like this.

Over the past four months, Trump has headlined a campaign rally or visited one of his private properties on 58 percent of the days, thanks in part to his vacation in Bedminster in August and his time spent in New York during the United Nations General Assembly last month.

Some of the time Trump is at his own properties, he’s doing the sort of thing that presidents often do: signing legislation or executive orders, meeting constituents and so on. Here’s our estimate of days on which Trump traveled outside of Washington and did the sort of normal presidential activities you might expect. That span in September when he was at his personal property in Manhattan (better known as Trump Tower) included daily meetings with other foreign leaders.

On other occasions, though, Trump does typical presidential things while he happens to be at one of his properties. The line gets blurry.

Trump has held more rallies over the last four months than during the first 18 months of his presidency combined. There is an obvious reason that Trump is spending so much time at campaign rallies recently, of course: Election Day is less than a month away. Trump committed to regular rallies on behalf of Republicans, and he’s upholding that commitment. It’s also obvious, though, that he enjoys the rallies as much as he did on the campaign trail. It’s an hour of riffing while die-hard supporters applaud him. What’s not to love?

How does Trump’s packed rally schedule compare with his golf habit? The latter still holds the crown. Over the past four months, he’s held 20 rallies. He’s likely played golf nearly twice as much.

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