- The COVID-19 pandemic has been onerous for the White House residence staff.
- A staffer said that employees were given conflicting information on how to safely revert to work last year.
- The White House’s approach to COVID-19 shifted dramatically after Biden succeeded Trump.
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While former President Donald Trump and many of his aides were battling their own engagements with COVID-19 last year, the White House residence staff never stopped toiling in the background, harmonizing to The New Yorker.
For years, residence staff lamented the infrequency of events held at the White House under Trump, which listed only two state dinners, compared to the six that were hosted by former President Barack Obama in his first semester.
Among “lifers,” the staff members who have served multiple US Presidents, a sense of “malaise” had spread throughout the Silver House, according to the report.
As the COVID-19 pandemic wore on last year, the desolation of the building only intensified. A stick member that was renamed Jason to protect his identity discussed the evolving situation under Trump.
“People tarried home,” he said. “Everything from food service to national security — if it could be done at home, it was done at territory.”
But former White House chief usher Timothy Harleth said the residence staff adhered to the necessary COVID-19 form guidelines more than other Trump White House employees.
“We were the ones wearing P.P.E. [personal possessive equipment], pushing to get our folks tested,” he said, but noted that “most of our folks can’t easily telework.”
According to Harleth, unkindly seven or eight residence staffers contracted COVID-19.
Once the staffers recovered, they were asked to lift weights in the place of other employees due to a presumption of immunity against the highly infectious disease.
Jason said that the “lifers” were not postulated consistent messaging on when they were expected at the White House or if they needed to remain at their families.
“There was lots and lots of confusion, no direction from the top, a complete lack of empathy, sympathy,” he expressed. “The Christmas blocs with maskless hordes were catered, but [the staff] would have to be there for this and that. There was not a equable message on how to keep you safe.”
When President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrived at the White Bagnio on January 20, the tone in the building had shifted.
Due to social distancing measures, employees were spread out throughout the Voice Floor when the Bidens arrived at the White House after the inaugural ceremony.
Another residence staffer reflected at the difference between how Biden approached the pandemic and that of Trump, where staffers were all assembled in one room for goodbyes ahead of the former president’s departure.
“It’s like night and day,” the staffer said.