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NCDem47's Journal
NCDem47's Journal
December 7, 2020

We joke about fumigating the White House after Trump leaves.

But the threat is real.

The symbolism of having to deep clean the WH of coronavirus. Rid this place (the WH and America) of that trash.

WASHINGTON – It’s a ritual carried out with precision each time a new first family moves into the White House.

In just six hours on Inauguration Day, belongings of a departing president's family are moved out, carpets are cleaned, furniture is rearranged, fresh art is hung and the executive mansion is transformed for its new residents before they set foot inside.

But staff tasked with preparing the executive mansion for the arrival Jan. 20 of President-elect Joe Biden and his family will do so under extraordinary circumstances: the COVID-19 contagion that has already infected departing President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and multiple White House staffers.

When someone working in a school, business, library or other public building tests positive for coronavirus or is even suspected of contracting the disease, the property owners or managers often respond by ordering the structure to undergo what is known as a "deep cleaning" – a process in which highly specialized contractors are brought in to eradicate the virus with botanical disinfectants.

But neither the White House nor the General Services Administration, the government agency that manages federal facilities, would say what precautions, if any, would be taken to make sure the presidential mansion is coronavirus-free before the Bidens arrive.

"For security purposes, GSA is not able to comment on services provided," said a spokesperson for the agency, which is responsible for helping get the East and West Wings ready for the incoming administration.

The job of prepping the mansion’s residential quarters for the new occupants falls to the White House chief usher’s office, which oversees the complex’s household staff and operations. The current chief usher is Timothy Harleth, who worked at the Trump International Hotel in Washington before Melania Trump tapped him for the White House job in 2017.

The first lady’s office did not respond to multiple questions about whether any anti-coronavirus measures would be taken to prepare the White House residence for the Bidens.

Sheldon Yellen, who operates a multinational property restoration company that has performed deep cleanings for thousands of clients since the coronavirus pandemic struck, advises giving the same cleansing treatment to a home before new occupants move in.

"If I were buying a new house right now or I were moving into a new house, I would surely want my new house thoroughly treated and cleaned," said Yellen, chief executive officer of Belfor Property Restoration in Birmingham, Michigan.


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