Since the ex-president's staff and usher would know the White House protocol better than the incoming president's, firing the butlers and chief usher hours before the Bidens' arrival was a final act of petty revenge for Trump, says a highly placed source.
After Joe Biden was inaugurated at the US Capitol as the 46th president, the newly sworn in commander-in-chief and First Lady of the United States walked up the steps of the North Portico for the doors to their new residence to swing open to a brand new Biden era. Months of campaigning and weeks of history-making drama had culminated in that one moment. However, it wasn't the climactic entry that was expected, because the Bidens were ready to step into the White House, but the White House was not ready for them.
Joe and Jill Biden were standing in front of closed doors that refused to open, and the world watched the brief, but noticeably awkward moment that lasted a few seconds.
"There was a protocol breach when the front doors were not held open for the first family as they arrived at the North Portico,” Lea Berman, who served as a White House social secretary for President George W. Bush, told The New York Times.
The closed doors of the White House that day joined a list of things that did not go according to tradition and protocol that day, but the doors finally opened after about 10-15 seconds of the couple awkwardlt standing there, almost as if they were locked out of their own house with millions of people watching.
Later that day, sitting miles away, former President Donald Trump may have re-watched the moment where the Bidens waited awkwardly outside their new residence because sources say that he and Melania Trump may have had something to do with the delay.
In one final act that was described as "petty," a well-placed official revealed that the Trumps intentionally sent the White House staff away so that nobody would be around to help the Bidens when they arrive, according to Mirror.
The official told National Journal, "The Trumps sent the butlers home when they left so there would be no one to help the Bidens when they arrived. So petty."
Just a few hours before the Bidens walked up the driveway of their new home, the Trumps had also fired the White House's chief usher Timothy Harleth. According to Independent, Harleth was supposed to welcome the Bidens since the Trumps were completely out of the picture for the inauguration, but he was shown the door right before the Bidens' arrival.
"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 told National Journal and added that Harleth's firing might be the reason behind it.
Bidens reportedly left outside White House when Trump sent staff home - Business Insider https://t.co/kjqWWNfRu1— NoelCaslerComedy (@CaslerNoel) January 23, 2021
"That may be why there was nobody to open the doors to the Bidens," the same source said. "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."
However, it must be noted that the claim of the Trumps having fired Harleth contradicts other news reports, including one by CNN, that says the former White House chief usher was fired by the Bidens.
While several sources reportedly confirmed that the closed doors may have been the final act of a completely unorthodox transition, another former senior White House official told National Journal, "It doesn’t strike me as strange at all that the doors were closed as it made for a nicer photo for the Bidens, which I bet the advance team requested. But what should have happened is that a Biden staff member should have alerted the usher or staff person on the other side of that door that it was time to open it. That was a staff mistake."