On Inauguration Day, a Final 'Petty' Act by Trump Left Bidens Stuck Outside White House: Report
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden, followed by their family members turn to walk into the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)
Videos showed the Bidens waving and hugging in front of the cameras for over a minute waiting for the North Portico doors to open. This shortcoming on part of the staff was described as a "big protocol breach" by a veteran White House social expert in a report.
- Last Updated:January 23, 2021, 18:36 IST
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Newly sworn in US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill were were held up outside the White House briefly before making their first official entry into the Presidential residence. The incident, which was photographed as the first family stood waiting to be ushered in, was reportedly the outcome of one final act of resentment by the outgoing President Donald Trump.
Videos showed the Bidens waving and hugging in front of the cameras for over a minute waiting for the North Portico doors to open. This shortcoming on part of the staff was described as a "big protocol breach" by a veteran White House social expert in National Journal. The doors are usually opened by the Marine guards.
The report quoted sources as saying that Donald and Melania Trump sent White House butlers and ushers home so that the Bidens would be left to fend for themselves. "So petty," the sources said.
Sources also dismissed reports that the Bidens fired chief usher Timothy Harleth, stating that it was the Trumps who relieved him of his duties before leaving instead. The chief usher is responsible for managing the White House and oversees residence staff including construction, maintenance, remodeling, food, as well as the administrative, fiscal, and personnel functions.
Harleth was a former executive of the Trump Hotels hired by Melania. The Journal continued to quote the source as explaining that the Harleth's absence could be blamed for the incident. "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 source was quoted.
Another White House official stated that it was a "staff mistake". A member of Biden's staff should have alerted ushers on the other side of the door to open it.
Timothy Harleth, widely considered a Trump loyalist, had expressed to his associates that he wished to continue his employment at the White House under the new regime. Harleth had last November already fired some long-serving staffers of the residence.
The misstep, although lasting only seconds, came in the midst of a chaotic handover of the Presidential residence which had to be deep cleaned due to the Covid-19 pandemic.