President Trump’s 100 days in office

Being president tougher than he expected

US President Donald Trump looks out a window of the Oval Office following an interview with Reuters at the White House.
US President Donald Trump looks out a window of the Oval Office following an interview with Reuters at the White House.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON • US President Donald Trump misses driving, feels as if he is in a cocoon, and is surprised how hard his new job is.

"I loved my previous life. I had so many things going," Mr Trump said as he reflected on his first 100 days in office with a wistful look at his life before the White House.

"This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier," he told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.

The wealthy New York businessman assumed public office for the first time when he entered the White House on Jan 20 after he defeated former secretary of state Hillary Clinton in an upset.

More than five months after his victory and two days shy of the 100-day mark of his presidency, the election is still on his mind.

Midway through a discussion about Chinese President Xi Jinping, he paused to hand out copies of what he said were the latest figures from the 2016 electoral map.

MORE WORK THAN BEFORE

I loved my previous life. I had so many things going. This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP

 
 

"Here, you can take that, that's the final map of the numbers," the Republican President said from his desk in the Oval Office, handing out maps of the United States with areas he won marked in red.

"It's pretty good, right? The red is obviously us."

Mr Trump, who said he was accustomed to not having privacy in his "old life", expressed surprise at how little he had now. And he made clear he was still getting used to having 24-hour Secret Service protection and its accompanying constraints.

"You're really into your own little cocoon, because you have such massive protection that you really can't go anywhere," he said.

When the President leaves the White House, it is usually in a limousine or a sport utility vehicle.

"I like to drive," he said. "I can't drive any more."

Many things about Mr Trump have not changed from the wheeler-dealer executive and former celebrity reality-show host who ran his empire from the 26th floor of Trump Tower in New York and worked the phones incessantly.

He frequently turns to outside friends and former business colleagues for advice and positive reinforcement. Senior aides said they are resigned to it.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 29, 2017, with the headline 'Being president tougher than he expected'. Print Edition | Subscribe