I don’t think so and I doubt you’ll find a factual answer on the net.
The President is the President 365 days (366 in leap years) a year, 24 hours a day. There are some jobs that can’t be delegated, like signing or vetoing legislation. During the hot days of the cold war the President always, and I mean always, had an aide with him, or close at hand, with the red phone that was a direct link to the Soviet Premier in case of a missile or aircraft attack alert.
Any “vacation” for the President is a working vacation.
Your first part is right, I think; people like Presidents are ‘on-the-clock’ all the time.
But on your second part, there are a few confusions:
The aide carried not a phone, but a sachel or briefcase containing the codes needed to order a launch or the USA’s nuclear missiles or bomber aircraft. This was supposed to be for a retalitory strike if the Soviets attacked us. (Presumably today, that aide also carries a cell phone. As do a whole lot of people around the President.) And, as far as I know, this aide is still within a few feet of the President at all times, even today.
The direct link to the Soviet Premier was not a red phone (except in movies), in reality it was a teletype machine. Decided upon for clearer, written communication without risk of confusion from accents, tone-of-voice, etc. Plus a written record. Plus more reliable than a voice line.
And in the case of a missile or aircraft attack, there wouldn’t be much point to talk to the Soviet Premier then – it’s too late. Right then, the President would be busy talking to the US military commanders about defenses and possible retalitory strikes.
Which was the reason why some military leaders were so upset by JFK’s philandering–not because of any moral grounds, but his “clandestine operations” often put him out of reach of the aide carrying the nuclear “football.”
From a more practical standpoint, though: who, exactly, would sign off on the President’s vacation days?
The president isn’t an hourly employee. He gets a nominal salary, but he sets his own hours, he doesn’t get vacation pay or sick pay. If he feels like taking a few weeks off to clear brush, or knocking off early on Friday, or taking long lunches, or skipping out during the middle of the day to run errands, no one is going to stop him. The only people he is responsible to are the voters. He could also be impeached if congress felt his slacking off was extremely egregious.
And of course, his salary is only a very trivial part of the total compensation of being president…he has free room and board, free medical care, hot and cold running assistants, a private jet, limosines, bodyguards, a private newspaper compiled daily by the CIA, state banquets, slutty interns, etc etc etc.
I think you are right. I might have confused the nuclear satchel with the red phone. I well remember seeing a National Geographic picture of SAC Commanding General John D. Ryan walking in SAC HQ in Omaha with his portable red phone clutched in one hand.
Are you sure about that? I seem to remember hearing that JFK did keep those aides close by, after making sure that they would be ‘discreet’ about such activities.
In fact, I thought there was a specific legal directive exempting both these military aides and the President’s Secret Service guards from being called to testify in legal proceedings. I remember hearing about it during the Clinton Impeachment trial. The rationale being that these people needed to be very near to the President to do their jobs, and so would inevitably overhear things. But if they could be required to testify about what they heard, Presidents would keep them away, and then they coudn’t do their jobs. So both Republicans and Democrats agreed to this.
But maybe this was done after JFK? Possibly in response to this issue during his term?
The same ones getting done when he’s sleeping, using the toilet or having sex with his, uh, partner of choice. In other words, just because he’s not actively engaged in the reading of documents or discussions with various and sundry people does not mean that he’s not taking alone time to think about something or, frankly, simply relaxing so that he is prepared and capable to do substantive work later. No one can be “on” all the time, physically, mentally or emotionally.
Actually, free room, but not board. At least not in the residence of the White House; food is brought in for the First Family but they are officially required to pay for it themselves. And the hot and cold running assistants are in place largely because of the fact that the president needs to be prepared to jump into a situation at a moment’s notice at any time of the day or night to jump into work, so he needs someone to fetch his clothes while he gets briefed on the suicide bomber who blew up something important somewhere scary, then someone else to get him some coffee to wake up as he tries to run from the residence to the Oval, think, talk, make decisions and pull on his pants at the same time.
I will add to the OP, which I think may clarify the spirit of the question. As a DC-metro dweller, I have heard of the GS grades for federal employees. Does the President have a GS grade? Is there a written policy for his vacation time, the same way there would be for any government employee?
We all know that in fact President is a 24/7/365 job but that doesn’t mean that the bureaucrats haven’t at least tried to define it. C’mon, folks, this is the US Government. There’s a rule, regulation, and document for everything.