executive time

Trump’s Not-So-Guilty Pleasure: Watching Himself on TV

Oh look, Trump’s favorite celebrity is on TV again. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

In an effort to help Americans get to know the 2016 presidential contenders, in December 2015 People magazine polled each of the candidates on what they do in their downtime. The main takeaway was that presidential hopefuls are just like us: they eat eggs for breakfast, like spending time with their spouse, and binge-watch shows like Game of Thrones, Modern Family, and Breaking Bad.

But one candidate could not bring himself to pretend that he has much in common with the average People reader. Does he like bacon and eggs? Sure, but while most people complain about gaining weight on the campaign trail, he bragged that he’d lost 15 pounds because his massive rallies are so exhilarating. He asserted that his secret talent is being excellent at sports. And this is how he answered the question “What’s your favorite guilty pleasure TV show?”

My guilty pleasure TV show — SNL, starring me. They got great ratings. The best ratings in years. It was a terrific success. I enjoyed doing it. It was 50 percent more than Hillary [Clinton]’s show. That makes me feel good.

Back in those halcyon days, people probably assumed that Donald Trump was joking, or misunderstood the question. But a new report from Axios suggests Trump was being honest about watching himself, and doesn’t feel very guilty about this habit. The president is said to love watching recordings of his debates and rallies — but instead of evaluating his performance, he “luxuriates in the moments he believes are evidence of his brilliance,” sometimes before a small audience. Per Axios:

Trump commentates as he watches, according to sources who’ve sat with him and viewed replays on his TiVo, which is pre-loaded with his favorites on the large TV in the private dining room adjoining the Oval Office. When watching replays, Trump will interject commentary, reveling in his most controversial lines. “Wait for it. … See what I did there?” he’ll say.

When he first took office, Trump was reportedly fond of watching his debate performances against Hillary Clinton, and he even had a favorite moment. In the debate immediately after the Access Hollywood tape, Clinton said, “It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country.” Trump retorted, “Because you’d be in jail.” A source who’s discussed the moment with Trump said, “He thinks it’s the greatest thing that ever happened in the history of presidential debates.”

In Trump’s defense, there’s a lot of “executive time” built into his schedule, and one can only watch so much Fox News.

Trump’s Not-So-Guilty Pleasure: Watching Himself on TV