Crying Staffers Leaving White HousePosted: January 18, 2017 | |
WASHINGTON (AP) — They line up near the Oval Office, down the hallway toward the Cabinet Room, trailed by their spouses and young kids in their finest clothes. When it’s their turn, the White House staffers enter for a few private moments with President Barack Obama, a photo and a farewell hug from the boss.
There’s a mass exodus underway this week at the White House. As Obama holds his last news conference Wednesday, his staff is busy packing up their offices and turning in their BlackBerrys. For some who joined Obama’s team right out of college, it’s the end of the only professional experience they’ve ever known.
The finals days of any president’s administration are always bittersweet and heavy on nostalgia, as officials face the transition back to being “civilians” who will no longer have their hands on the nation’s levers of power. Yet there’s added sadness this time for Obama staffers who are mostly horrified by the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump.
“You’re always aware that it’s a special privilege to work there and not something to take for granted,” said Nate Lowentheil, who worked on Obama’s National Economic Council for the last three years. “It’s particularly hard knowing the next wave of people coming are going to be working to reverse the things you were working to advance until your very last hour.”
There were tears on the faces of some White House aides on Tuesday as press secretary Josh Earnest appeared in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room for his final press briefing — his 354th as press secretary, Earnest said. Even former staffers were invited to return to the White House witness Earnest’s last round of jousting with reporters.
“I’m going to miss it,” Earnest said. “It will take some getting used to seeing somebody else standing up here doing it.”
“Or not,” he added, in a nod to the prospect that Trump’s team may make changes to the daily briefing.
In between closing out final projects and typing up reports on the work they’ve done, White House staffers are packing away their knickknacks, coffeemakers and photos. The boxes stack up in offices already vacated by staffers who have departed over the past few weeks.
By Thursday night, all must be gone to make way for Trump’s team…(read more)
- Obama and Trump aides work to make nice (cnn.com)
- Take a virtual reality tour of the White House narrated by President Obama (mashable.com)
- How to watch President Obama’s farewell speech (pix11.com)
- President Obama to Deliver Message of Hope in Farewell Address (time.com)
- As Obama Leaves, He Leads Tour Of “The People’s” White House In New 360-Degree Video (fastcompany.com)
- Obama to take 1 last flight on Air Force 1 as ex-president (stripes.com)
- Barack Obama’s 2016 Year, Photos by Pete Souza (telegraph.co.uk)