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Donald Trump on being president: “I thought it would be easier”

Donald Trump Meets With Italian PM Paolo Gentiloni At The White House Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Donald Trump did not realize how much work being president of the United States would be. Really.

In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Trump reflected on the joys of his previous life. He misses being able to drive, having privacy, and having an easier job.

"I loved my previous life. I had so many things going," he told Reuters in an interview. "This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier."

"You're really into your own little cocoon, because you have such massive protection that you really can't go anywhere," he continued. “I like to drive. I can't drive any more."

It’s a surprising admission from Trump, who on the campaign trail made it seem like solving all the world’s problems would be so easy and that only he could do it — and from someone who almost never admits defeat, even when blatantly true.

But lately, it’s become a familiar thread for Trump. From domestic to foreign policy, it’s clear that being president has been a rude awakening for Trump. After watching the Obamacare repeal bill flail on Capitol Hill, he said, “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated" — a laughable statement for anyone who watched or was involved in the 2009 Affordable Care Act negotiations.

Then again, when trying to muscle China to “solve the North Korea problem,” he told the Wall Street Journal that he didn’t realize how much history there was there either.

“After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy,” he told the Journal. “I felt pretty strongly that they had a tremendous power North Korea. … But it’s not what you would think.”

It’s no secret that Trump has had a difficult time transitioning into the White House. In his first 100 days, he has had no major legislative successes and has failed to get his party in line on Capitol Hill. His most disruptive executive action — the travel ban — has been tied up in court, and he has had little leverage to fund some of his core campaign promises, like building the border wall.

To be clear, Trump was warned this would be hard. During the transition, President Barack Obama said both publicly and privately that it wasn’t easy to … you know … run the free world — that governing was more complicated and arduous than campaigning.

But it seems Trump was blinded by his unexpected electoral victory. He still is.

"Here, you can take that, that's the final map of the numbers," Trump told the Reuters reporters, handing out 2016 election maps, with states he won marked in red. "It’s pretty good, right? The red is obviously us."

He had copies for all three reporters in the room. Read more from the Reuters interview here.