The inauguration ceremony of the presidents of the United States reaches the public with all its pomp, including the performances of the invited artists and what it means that they bet or not on a certain politician. But what happens in the White House in that discount time in which the outgoing president leaves it and a new one enters it does not have the same visibility. Even when the anomalous transfer of powers between Donald Trump and Joe Biden took place on January 20, the fireworks at the end of the act hid what was happening at that time in the presidential residence. Now, White House staff have revealed how the last hours of President Donald Trump and his wife Melania passed there and have given details of the arrival of Joe Biden and the new presidential family.
It is known that the transition between the outgoing president and the entree is inherently frantic. The move is organized in a record time of five hours, as published in a report by The New York Times . A complicated process that they compare with a sophisticated choreography in which the 90 people who belong to the staff of the White House residence intervene. In the handover last January, the process included additional cleaning and special safety precautions due to the coronavirus.
In a recent article published in The New Yorker, employees stated that the two families were "like night and day" in regarding social distancing practices. Donald and Melania Trump made the same day of the inauguration of Biden a brief thanks to the staff of the residence in which they had spent the last four years and they did it all gathered in a room. The chief of staff, Usher Timothy Harleth, "presented the couple with the flags that had flown in the White House while they lived in it," in keeping with an ancient tradition and around eight o'clock in the morning the outgoing president and his wife set off. towards the plane that took them to their new residence in Florida.
Only a few hours later the Biden couple arrived at the same residence, who broke the rules from the beginning: “Normally we usually meet the new family throughout the years. first days or the first weeks, but never in the first minutes ”. But that's how it was with Joe and Jill Biden. “The Bidens came in and the first thing they did was walk around the residential area and say hi to the staff. We are all very flattered, ”says one of its members.
Prior to that time, Harleth had worked in collaboration with an interior designer to make the private part of the official residence of the new president and first lady perfect for the new inhabitants. An operation that, according to another employee, included "new wallpapers" and bookcases full of "decorative plates and candles." Timothy Harleth had been fired as chief usher of the residence shortly before the new president took office for which he was hired by Melania Trump in 2017, from the Trump International Hotel DC, where he was a room manager. the White House detailed to The New Yorker some differences between presidential families: The Obamas, for example, "had never had a team of housekeepers and craved privacy." The Trumps treated staff as if they were "a twenty-four-hour concierge reception." And the Bidens are still in full swing. A few days after their arrival they made a statement to People magazine in which they stated: “It is surreal, but it is comfortable. I spent a lot of time here in the cabinet area and in the Oval Office with President Obama but the above is new, ”explained Joe Biden of his years as vice president. “It didn't seem like anything was changing much, until we walked through the door with our grandchildren. Then I thought oh, I guess things have changed! "
There are curious traditions about this transfer that also make it chaotic. The trucks with the belongings of the new president's family are kept in a warehouse in Maryland and cannot begin to be unloaded at the White House until the new president elected to the position has been sworn in. The second floor, the one destined for a private residence, has 16 rooms and six bathrooms and on this last occasion the tradition was not fulfilled that the outgoing first lady invited the wife of the president-elect to visit the residence before the inauguration of her husband. “It's a courtesy, but logistically it's incredibly useful. This time that didn't happen, ”said Carpricia Marshall, who was White House social secretary under Bill Clinton and was in charge of supervising his departure in 2001.