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Thursday, Donald trump and Melania Trump will leave the White House as president and first lady, but they will not invite their incoming counterparts, Joe and Jill Biden, to enter before them.

The dissolution of one of America’s most enduring power-transfer rituals – the outgoing president welcoming the incoming president on the steps of the North Portico and then riding with them to the U.S. Capitol – is just one of the slights the Trumps are committing. perpetrating when they leave Washington.

Instead of a president and a first lady, the Bidens will be greeted by Chief White House usher Timothy Harleth, according to a source familiar with the day’s events and planning.

In this photo from October last year, First Lady Melania Trump, left, and President Donald Trump, center, stand on stage as Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden, right, walks away to the wrap up the second and final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville.
In this photo from October last year, First Lady Melania Trump, left, and President Donald Trump, center, stand on stage as Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden, right, walks away to the wrap up the second and final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville. (AP)

Harleth, a 2017 Trump employee at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, will likely not remain in the Biden administration, the source said, noting that the role of chief usher will in all likelihood be played by someone more familiar with the incoming president and first. . Lady.

On the evening of Inauguration Day, then-President Biden will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, along with former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

It’s during these hours that most of the Bidens’ personal effects will be moved to the White House and unpacked, according to another source with knowledge of executive residency practices.

By then, all of the Trump paraphernalia will be gone and a full top-to-bottom cleanup of the entire White House campus will have been completed.

Deeper cleaning protocols were arranged through the White House with outside contractors, in addition to regular cleaning by staff, including specialized care for carpets, rugs, curtains, and surfaces, to address any possibility of lingering germs, of the type Covid-19 or otherwise. .

Police take photos as a ceremonial guard passes the White House during a rehearsal for President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony.
Police take photos as a ceremonial guard passes the White House during a rehearsal for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony. (AP)

“Moving furniture and vacuuming, cleaning baseboards, vacuuming curtains, cleaning blinds, cleaning chandeliers, washing windows, dusting” are covered areas during the traditional move of a new president and his family, according to the residence source. “That cleanup will begin as soon as Donald Trump and Melania Trump leave.”

A particular focus of this move will be lent to the dorm rooms, where new mattresses and box springs for the first incoming family are standard operating procedure, according to the source.

However, one part of the bedroom setup will be markedly different with the Bidens than it was with the Trumps – the Bidens will share a bedroom. Melania Trump spent most of her time at the White House in the large one-bedroom suite normally reserved for presidents and their spouse, adjacent to West Sitting Hall, according to a source with knowledge of the arrangement.

New President Donald Trump talks to former President Barack Obama on Capitol Hill as the reins are handed over on January 20, 2017.
New President Donald Trump talks to former President Barack Obama on Capitol Hill as the reins are handed over on January 20, 2017. (AP)

“Donald Trump slept in his own room, which was previously a studio or studio during other administrations,” the source said of the arrangement.

On Monday, moving trucks were seen at the Mar-a-Lago entrances in Palm Beach, Florida, with shippers loading dollies of boxes and items and taking them to the private club, which will serve as the Trumps’ home after the White House. , which is the plan for now, said another source with knowledge of the planned living arrangements and security arrangements in place.

The Bidens’ Inauguration Day snub comes on the heels of a series of broken rules and childish behavior that comes directly from the President of the United States, who has expressed disinterest in preserving any semblance of decency toward the man who will succeed. he.

Trump, according to multiple sources, is even mulling over whether to write a letter to Biden to be left in the Oval Office, a tradition with banners.

Melania Trump, who has not been seen in public in more than two weeks, has not approached Jill Biden, frustrating expectations that she would continue to convey hospitality to her successor, taking her on a tour.

Even after controversial election cycles, first ladies and presidents have put resentment and ego aside, no matter how hurt, until now.

“I remember the two interactions that then-first lady Hillary Clinton had with Barbara Bush in 1992 when she first came to the White House, and in 2000 when she received Laura Bush,” a former senior Clinton administration official told CNN.

Cameras recorded the scene when First Lady Barbara Bush greeted incoming First Lady Hillary Clinton outside the White House in 1992.
Cameras recorded the scene when First Lady Barbara Bush greeted incoming First Lady Hillary Clinton outside the White House in 1992. (C-Span today)

“They were both looking for controversial campaigns and both visits could not have been more friendly and welcoming.”

And while the Bidens have a unique perspective, having visited the White House numerous times throughout Joe Biden’s decades of political career, the Trumps’ lack of courtesy stings.

“It’s abominable,” said another former White House official who worked in the Trump administration.

However, small measures of decorum are being practiced during the transition. CNN learned that at least three Trump administration officials used private communication channels to communicate with their counterparts in the Biden administration in the past month, despite the president not acknowledging their loss.

Over the weekend, Trump’s official White House photographer Shealah Craighead was spotted by CNN giving a tour of the White House photography office to Adam Schultz and Chandler West, the new official photographer and photo editor. from Biden, respectively. While photographers mark one end of the spectrum, Vice President Mike Pence would point to the other.

On Thursday, Pence spoke with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris for the first time, the highest-level contact to date between the outgoing and incoming administrations.

Their conversation was described as cordial, with Pence offering his congratulations and assistance, according to a person familiar with the matter.

CNN reached out to second lady Karen Pence’s office to see if she had made the same gesture to incoming second gentleman Doug Emhoff and received no response.

On Sunday, the Pences were still on official duty, visiting troops at Fort Drum in New York. Karen Pence was excited to refer to her latest official trip during her comments.

“Here I go,” he said, pausing between sentences on a podium inside the hangar, trying to contain himself before more tears rolled down his face. “It is a great honor to be here with you.”

On Sunday, invitations were sent to Trump’s circle asking them to attend, and bring up to five guests, to his and Melania Trump’s farewell celebration at Joint Base Andrews, before boarding Air Force One early Wednesday morning to their last trip on the flat planes, which will drop them off in Florida.

Trump has told staff that he wants his farewell on the runway to include all the pomp and circumstance he feels he deserves, including a 21-gun salute, a red carpet and a military color guard.

On Monday afternoon, an administration official told CNN that the bells and whistles could be for a very large audience of one, the president, and a small audience of others: “So far, there haven’t been many confirmations. assistance “.


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