WASHINGTON, January 19, 2017 — No president has ever changed the culture of Washington. It’s a partisan place and it always will be. But it may be getting worse, according to evidence offered by Meghan McCain of the Fox News show, One Lucky Guy. “Low-level partisan hacks” are boycotting the Trump inauguration.
As a resident of the DC Metro area, my desire to attend the Obama inauguration was squashed by the vast number of people descending on Washington. With Donald Trump’s inauguration, it’s the huge number of protestors promising violence, led by Representative John Lewis. Lewis has spent weeks fomenting a hateful cloud that hangs over Reagan’s “shining city on a hill”.
The 67 Democrats refusing to attend the ceremony are not hurting Trump’s feelings. But they are making a statement that they and their political agenda are bigger than America’s most dearly held tradition—the peaceful transition of power from one Administration to the next.
Those representatives are not bigger than America, or more important than America.
Tomorrow, in under six hours, from the time President Obama and President Elect Trump leave the White House at 10:30 a.m. until President Trump and first lady Melania Trump return following the inaugural parade, a team of 93 persons at the White House will move the Obama family out and the Trump family in.
Some things you may not know courtesy of ElleDecor.com:
The president-elect can’t move in a minute sooner than noon on inauguration day.
“We’re not allowed in the White House until noon on January 20, so we have to operate virtually from an off-site location and organize all the logistics there,” says Bradley Blakeman, who was President George W. Bush’s deputy assistant and in charge of scheduling every minute of his time—including on move-in day. “It’s organized and they’ve got it done to a science. It’s like a military maneuver.”
The move from one administration to the next takes about 12 hours:
Why is move-in like a military maneuver? Because it happens fast. “Officers from the General Services Administration are moving people out and in, painting and recarpeting,” says Blakeman. “It takes every bit of 12 hours to finish up. They’re in there until midnight and later to put the finishing touches on.” All personal decor choices from the first family will take place after move-in day.
The incoming family pays to move their possessions to the White House:
One thing most people don’t know: The first family is responsible for getting all of their belongings to the White House themselves. “They have a coordination effort with the government through private movers,” says Blakeman. For example, President Obama had to cover the transportation costs (either with personal funds or money raised for the campaign) to get his items from Chicago to Washington D.C. Once the president elect’s belongings arrive, the residence staff takes custody of the possessions and begins unpacking. (Read more First Family First Day items at www.elledecor.com)
The President will choose his own chef, but the first family is expected to pay for the food they eat. In her post-White House memoir, Laura Bush wrote that they were expected to pay for the non-executive meals they ate at the White House or the presidential Camp David retreat.
“The presidential room, as it were, is covered, but not the board,” she wrote in her book, “Spoken from the Heart.”
While first families aren’t responsible for utility bills or a mortgage, “it is more than fair that they pay for personal items like every American household,” she wrote.
Mrs. Bush wrote that she received a monthly bill itemizing everything she and her family spent which included food, dry cleaning and hourly wages for waiters and cleanup crews at private parties. And we can assume the cost of those items is vastly higher than you or I might pay for, say, Zips one-day dry cleaning.
“There were some costs that I was not prepared for,” Bush wrote. “I was amazed by the sheer number of designer clothes that I was expected to buy, like the women before me, to meet the expectations for a first lady.”
But this is not just any president, first lady or family. The monthly bill for living at the White House will not leave them broke, as Hillary Clinton claimed she and President Clinton were when they left 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue carrying debts somewhere between $2.28 million and $10.6 million.
(It must be noted, however, that that debt was for the enormous legal fees they incurred during President Clinton’s tenure, not as a result of the cost of living in the people’s house.)
Little known is that one pressing day-one test for the new president is the less than joyful first task of planning of his own funeral should he die while in office.
President Trump, while not the first to decline it—he is preceded by John F. Kennedy and Herbert Hoover—will not be taking a salary for his service to the people of America.
Speaking with 60 Minutes’ Lesley Stahl following his election, President Elect Trump said that he wouldn’t take the $400,000 salary per year he is entitled to as president.
“Well, I’ve never commented on this, but the answer is no,” Trump said. “I think I have to by law take $1, so I’ll take $1 a year. But it’s a—I don’t even know what it is.”
The Trumps are not ingrained into Washington culture. Trump did not run for the quest of political power. He applied to the people of the United States of America for the job of Chief Executive and Commander in Chief.
So now Mr. Trump, and family, have come to Washington. And we wish them, and America, well.