Trump had left with a courtesy "thank you" at 8 am, without a second thought of welcoming his successor into the White House. But the change in atmosphere whe the Bidens stepped in was warm and welcoming.
After serving eight years in the past as the country's vice president, Joe Biden said it "feels like I am going home" when the time came for him to step into the White House again, but this time, as the nation's president, according to People.
On the day of his inauguration, while Biden was being sworn in, the staff at the White House were frantically preparing for the transition after bidding farewell to the departing ex-presidential couple just a few hours before the new first couple's arrival.
The Trumps left the White House at around 8 am after getting the residence's staff together in a room to briefly thank them before their journey to Florida. As part of a longstanding tradition, the White House chief usher, Timothy Harleth, who was fired the same day, had presented the Trumps with the flags that flew over the White House during their tenure, soon after which the couple hopped on to Marine One for their trip.
In a window of roughly six hours, the staffers then began preparing for the transition and soon welcomed the Bidens to what will be their new home for the next four years.
A former Obama aide, Susannah Jacob told The New Yorker that the Trump and Biden families were drastically different when it came to social distancing.
"It’s like night and day," Jacob said, as quoted by People. The Trumps let everyone gather in one room while the Bidens insisted they spread out in a line and keep enough distance between them.
"The Bidens came in and the first thing they did was make a loop of the State Floor and greet the staff," said one residence staffer who was moved to tears while speaking of the gesture that was a rare move for a first couple to make on their first day.
As the Bidens made their way down the line, they greet each staff member, and the president said, "We’re glad we’re here, too."
The unnamed residence staffer said, as quoted by Business Insider, "We were all very flattered. Usually we meet them in the first days or first weeks, but never in the first minutes."
Although Biden was familiar with the White House during his time as the vice president, he hadn't been inside the residence back then. Nowadays, he is filled with a sense of wonder as he wakes up every morning in the prestigious address. "I get up in the morning and look at Jill and say: 'Where the hell are we?'" Biden said at a CNN town hall held in Milwaukee.
One thing that makes Biden "extremely self-conscious" is seeing the White House staff members waiting on him and even doing little things like hand his coat to him. "I don't know about you all, but I was raised in a way that you didn't look for anybody to wait on you," said Biden.
Four years back, when Trump was the one taking in the grandeur of the White House, he told The New York Times' Maggie Haberman in January 2017, "these are the most beautiful phones I've ever used in my life," according to Business Insider.
Calling the White House "beautiful" and "very elegant," Trump also said at the time, "There's something very special when you know that Abraham Lincoln slept there. The Lincoln Bedroom, you know, was his office, and the suite where I'm staying is actually where he slept."
During the CNN town hall, Biden was also aware of the magnitude of his move to the residence saying, "I feel a sense of -- I must tell you, a sense of history about it."
Cover image source: Getty Images | Photos by (L) Eric Thayer - Pool and (R) Adam chultz