New York, Jan 19: The minute after Donald Trump is sworn-in as the US President, an army of federal workers will swing into action at the White House, working in military-like precision to prepare the presidential residence and office for the new leader, replacing everything from snacks to toiletries.
The process to prepare the White House for the incoming leader is planned months in advance and executed within hours after the incoming President is sworn-in. A report in the New York Times said workers will prepare the White House for Trump during the time he partakes in official inauguration festivities, including the presidential oath and address at the Capitol, a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue and the black-tie balls.
"It's very busy you are on your feet constantly, making sure things are going in the right place and in the right way, and there is very little time to spare," said Betty Monkman, a White House curator for more than three decades who helped supervise the changeover in 2001, when Bill Clinton was moving out and George Bush was coming in. "The housekeeper and maids are all getting the clothes in the closet and cosmetics and toiletries in the bathrooms, the kitchen staff is preparing the food. There is a lot going on," she said in the NYT report.
The Obamas plan to move to a house less than two miles from the White House as they intend to remain in Washington while their younger daughter, Sasha, completes high school. Their personal items had begun to be moved to their new home. Moving trucks, including one from a company specialising in storing and moving fine art, have been parked outside the house in the District's upscale Kalorama neighborhood, and workers have been photographed carrying large cartons inside, the report added.
Just as the transfer of power occurs around noon, two moving trucks will pull into the driveway that circles the South Lawn of the White House one to deliver the new president's possessions and the other one to ship off those belonging to the departing chief executive.
"It's an emotional time," said Anita McBride, who served as chief of staff to Laura Bush, including during the 2009 handoff to the Obamas. "The changes range from the mundane to the significant," the report said, adding that Obama keeps a large bowl of apples on a table in the Oval Office and a supply of almonds for his late-night snack. Trump, who is a fast-food aficionado, is known to prefer not only Doritos but also Lays potato chips.
Melania, the incoming First Lady had met this month with the usher and curator in the White House. She plans to live in New York for the first months of Trump's presidency so the couple's elementary school-age son, Barron, can finish the year at his private school in Manhattan. Trump is planning to swap the curtains in the Oval Office currently a deep shade of red for those used by a previous president, according to a person familiar with the exchange.
The report added that at the White House, aides have been plotting the move for weeks. They compiled briefing books for the incoming first family with color photographs and architectural drawings of all the rooms in the residence, including what furniture and artwork are available.
However preparing the White House does not always go seamlessly. Bill and Hillary Clinton had to return nearly USD 50,000 worth of gifts they took with them when they left the White House in 2001. These were eventually determined to be the property of the National Park Service, which oversees the White House.