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Can you guess just how much TV Trump watches?

Trump wakes up around 5:30 am and switches on the television, and flips through the news channels

world Updated: Dec 10, 2017 15:00 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Donald Trump,Trump TV watching,CNN
Even during meetings, Trump likes to keep an eye on a nearby TV set for the latest news scrolling through the bottom.(AP)

How much television does the president of the United States watch, between fighting fires around the world and staring down rivals, critics and sceptics at home? At least four hours a day and sometimes eight possibly for President Donald Trump, according to a report.

Always an early riser, Trump wakes up around 5:30 am and switches on the television, and flips through the news channels — CNN, Fox and MSNBC, occasionally — and fires off tweets if something, or someone, he sees sets him off, said a report in The New York Times on Saturday.

Citing “people close to him”, the report said the president spends at least four hours a day in front of TV screens, “and sometimes as much as twice that”, and even during meetings likes to keep an eye on a nearby TV set for the latest news scrolling through the bottom; it’s always news.

And what he misses live, he catches up whenever he can from recordings.

The report was about Trump nearing a year in office, his own struggles and that of his aides dealing with a most unusual president. But his TV-watching habits received more attention than other new and interesting details in the story — such as, he drinks 12 cans of Diet Coke a day.

Four hours is not so bad. An average American adult watched five hours of live and recorded television TV daily in 2016, according to a study by Nielsen consumer research. But when President Trump takes it to eight hours, that is a completely different story, one that he himself would cringe about.

He is a voracious consumer of TV news and, as the article indicated, he draws most of his ammunition for his tweets from there. His TV-watching habits have long been a matter of discussion, mostly derisive, and he has known about it and has felt compelled to challenge it at times.

“I do not watch much television,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One during is recent Asia tour, in response to a questions about the controversial Republican candidate in Alabama.

“I know they like to say -- people that don't know me, they like to say I watch television. People with fake sources -- you know, fake reporters, fake sources. But I don't get to watch much television, primarily because of documents. I'm reading documents a lot, and different things.”

Neither the president — who criticised a Washington Post reporter for tweeting a wrong picture of his rally showing empty stands — nor the White House had said anything in response to the The New York Times news report, which had been picked up by multiple local news publications by the end of the day.

First Published: Dec 10, 2017 14:59 IST