Could the President of the United States get a second job while in office?

And by job I don’t mean largely passive income like owning a business or being on the board of some company. Not anything he could do while still sitting in the Oval Office.

I literally mean, could the President of the United States decided he wants to work at a local McDonald’s either part time or full time, or slightly more realistically, could he be a surgeon working a few hours a day at a local hospital?

His security detail might severely impinge on POTUS interacting with Joe Public and crimp available parking for patrons in the precinct

There would be serious security concerns about the President working at a McDonald’s. The Secret Service would very strongly urge him not to do that. They would have to install metal detectors at the doors.

Then there’s the practical issue of whether the franchise owner or McDonald’s Corporation would simply refuse to hire him, fearing that it would be a liability for them if any tragedy happened.

Assuming those obstacles are overcome, I think the safest place for the President to work would be in the kitchen area, certainly not as a service worker taking orders at the drive thru or front counter.

I’m picturing trump in overalls pushing a lawnmower around the district.

Jerry Seinfeld visited President Obama at the White House for his Comedians/Coffee/Cars show. With Obama behind the wheel, they jokingly went to leave for a spin around DC, but were stopped at the gate with a stern “No” by security. The President is surrounded by security apparatus 24/7/365, any venture out in public probably takes some amount of planning, so I imagine taking a random job outside that controlled apparatus would be a hard “No” again.

That was a joke though. The president’s security detail is there to serve him and can’t actually prevent the president from leaving if he wants to overrule them.

I do not think there is any rule or law that would prevent a duly elected president from deciding to be a part-time president and moonlight as a physician.

Isn’t there an assumption that the President should do his or her job? This is like asking if the President could play video games all day. Of course not; they would be booted pretty quickly for gross incompetence, not discharging duties, etc.

Now if they were genetically engineered not to have to sleep at all, perhaps they could squeeze in some free time.

Well, sure on all the above, but it so happens, that strictly speaking as we have all been recently reminded, there are surprisingly few actual “hard” legal mandates on what the President cannot do outside of his office duties – or even on how he performs those – as opposed to practical limitations, reasonable expectations, “accepted understandings” and/or “this is how all the other guys did it”.

You mean orange coveralls with “DOJ” stenciled on the back, right?

An assumption, sure, but a mandate or law? Not really.

And I’m sure the Secret Service would rather them playing video games in the Oval Office than working the counter at McDonald’s.

By who?

I think it would be a bad idea, for a whole host of reasons, for the president to have a job other than presidenting, but if they really want to, there’s not much stopping them.

Trump’s “Executive time” nonsense suggests that exactly this could happen.

And hey, as long as there’s a decent cabinet to do the actual work, how much does the President actually have to do? I suppose there’s a certain minimum amount of signing things like the budget bills that is essential, but if the President just didn’t care about everything else, a lot of it could just slide. I suspect that, so long as the bills are paid, the machinery of government would get along pretty well for years without a hands-on President in office.

Unless the opposing party holds the House and a two thirds majority in the Senate, it is impossible to give the President “the boot”, even for gross incompetence.

Here ya go!

Their cabinet, their own party, the Congress. Who else? Fucking up is a political problem, not a crime.

If, under this hypothetical, the president continues to enjoy support then you are right, however not coming to the office means they are not even taking care of their own corrupt partisan interests.

Federal employees are generally allowed to hold a second job, subject to numerous caveats and a broad requirement that it not “conflict with their official duties.” I don’t know whether the President could be held to the same standards.

Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch

Well, no one else, you named the only ones who could, Congress. And that means getting an impeachment and a conviction, literally on mopery.

Right, which is why it would be hard to justify impeachment under Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. While impeachment is a political process, and they could technically impeach a president for eating tacos on a Wednesday, it is supposed to be used for when they have committed a crime, which you just said these acts would not be.

If they show up once a week and sign whatever bills have made it to their desk, there is no one in congress that will care.

The cabinet that you mentioned does the day to day work, and while usually the President has a fair amount of involvement with them, he doesn’t have to.

I think the Emoluments clause was meant to prevent outside employment:

Article III, Section 1
The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

But again, Trump pretty much proved the emoluments clause has no teeth, either. If he could make millions off foreign countries renting hotel rooms they never intended to use, Biden can work the grill at McDonalds.

Is my memory correct that Barack Obama occasionally wrote and syndicated op-ed articles while he was President?

I’m not sure of the ins and outs there … perhaps those op-eds were ghost-written by speechwriters after getting some rough ideas from Obama. Not sure.

But anyway … that seems to be the kind of side job a President could hypothetically fulfill: producing a weekly or monthly column for syndication. Perhaps still an Emoluments clause violation, however.

EDIT: Just to add that sitting Senators and U.S. Representatives certainly write op-eds for papers in their home states. Louisiana senator John Kennedy is frequently published (well, maybe 5 or 6 a year that I notice). Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) just published one in the New Orleans paper this past Sunday.

Not even hypothetical, remember the Fireside chats?