In one of their final acts as President and First Lady of the United States, Donald and Melania Trump sent White House ushers home for the day on Wednesday morning, leaving the new first family to fend for themselves upon entering, according to several informed sources.
“The Trumps sent the butlers home when they left so there would be no one to help the Bidens when they arrived,” a well-placed official not associated with the incoming Biden team told National Journal.
“So petty,” the source added.
According to the Journal, White House chief usher Timothy Harleth, a former executive of Trump Hotels hired by Melania Trump, was summarily fired by the Trumps before they left—not by the Bidens, as has been widely reported.
“Harleth was shown the door before the Bidens reached the door at the North Portico on Wednesday afternoon for their first official entrance as president and first lady. Video of their arrival showed them waving to photographers and hugging for the cameras for more than a minute—longer than typical presidential photo ops—before approaching the entrance with their family. The heavy doors swung open from within about 15 seconds later,” the Journal reports.
“It’s a big protocol breach for the president to ever stand in front of a closed door at the White House,” a veteran White House social expert said. “That may be why there was nobody to open the doors to the Bidens. You couldn’t expect the Biden staff to know to do that. Doors are opened and closed by ushers. There are rules about all these things and everyone has their job.”
The rest of the usher staff was back on the job Thursday, but Harleth — considered to be a Trump loyalist — was not expected to be retained by the Bidens for long.