Ex-White House aide says watching TV is part of Trump's 'workflow'

Ex-White House aide Cliff Sims on Tuesday defended President TrumpDonald John TrumpWatergate prosecutor says that Sondland testimony was 'tipping point' for Trump In private moment with Trump, Justice Kennedy pushed for Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination: book Obama: 'Everybody needs to chill out' about differences between 2020 candidates MORE's extensive use of "Executive Time," saying that watching television each day is part of the president's "workflow" and that Trump "works his butt off."

"I think that it’s part of his workflow," Sims, who once served as director of White House message strategy and as a special assistant to the president, said on CNN's "New Day."

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"Watching you guys this morning, watching Fox, watching MSNBC, seeing how different issues are playing to different audiences. That’s why he’s able to control so much of the news cycle through Twitter and other things that allow him to see that and then react to it in real-time.”

The comments from Sims come just days after Axios obtained and published three months worth of Trump's daily schedules.

The copies showed that Trump has spent about 60 percent of his time since the midterm elections in "Executive Time," where he is generally watching television, reading newspapers and making phone calls to aides, lawmakers and administration officials.

A source told Axios that Trump typically spends the first five hours of his day in his residency.

Sims described the leak as "mayhem for the sake of mayhem" while speaking with CNN's John Berman. 

"I can’t even make sense of the purpose of a leak like this other than to try to present [Trump] as not working hard," Sims said, adding that Trump has a lot of "unstructured time" but that it doesn't mean he's not working hard. 

Sims went on to say that Trump is "constantly in motion" and that he "never turns off."

"So I really think it’s an unfair characterization to say because there’s a lot of unstructured time that that means that there’s not a lot of work getting done," Sims said. "That’s just not my experience with him.”

Sims's memoir about his time working in the White House, "Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House," was released last week.

The book, which details dysfunction and infighting inside the administration, prompted outrage from Trump, who said Sims was "nothing more than a gofer."