AP Photo/Evan Vucci
- A former Trump aide said Trump found out in December 2021 that part of his daily schedule was public.
- Trump then instructed aides to claim he would “make many calls and have many meetings.”
- The aide’s comments came to light after the Jan. 6 committee published a transcript of his testimony.
A former Trump White House aide told the January 6 committee that President Donald Trump instructed his aides to say he had “many calls and many meetings” after finding out late into his term that most of his schedule was public.
“Every evening we prepared and released a daily guidance for the following day of the President’s public schedule,” former White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere testified to the panel, according to a transcript of his deposition that was released on Tuesday. “Beginning sometime around mid to late December, the President discovered that, for the first time, my understanding, that we released a public schedule of his to the public. He wanted to change the way we did that.”
Deere continued, “And so what became the new version of the public schedule was basically a couple of sentences about what his day would consist of rather than specific times and and titles of events in an outline form.”
Deere made the remarks in response to the panel’s questions about a text message he sent to White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on January 5, 2021, that included draft language of how the White House would describe Trump’s schedule on January 6, 2021.
The January 6 committee took particular interest in Trump’s movements on the day of the Capitol riot, especially whether he or other senior White House aides tried to plan a trip for him to the Capitol in advance. The panel uncovered significant evidence that Trump and his aides did explore such a trip, despite the appearance of an off-the-cuff remark made by Trump during his speech on the morning of January 6.
According to Deere, the boilerplate language of Trump making “many calls” and having “many meetings” was added at Trump’s direction after the president found out about the public schedule.
Deere’s testimony addresses one of the longest-running story lines of the Trump White House: how to account for the president’s schedule.
Trump and his allies went on the defensive in 2019 when an aide leaked to Axios nearly every day of the president’s private schedule over a three month period. The private releases showed that Trump had spent nearly 60% of his time in unstructured “Executive Time” windows.
“What a disgraceful breach of trust to leak schedules,” Trump’s secretary Madeleine Westerhout wrote on Twitter at the time. “What these don’t show are the hundreds of calls and meetings @realDonaldTrump takes everyday. This POTUS is working harder for the American people than anyone in recent history.”
Deere described to the committee a less comprehensive version of the president’s schedule. Each evening, the White House releases the president’s public schedule for the following day to reporters. While the events are not comprehensive, the schedule is supposed to outline both major public and non-public events. For example, Biden’s schedule lists his non-public daily intelligence brief and lunches with Vice President Kamala Harris.
Representatives for Trump did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.