President Trump returned to the White House from Walter Reed Medical Center on Monday evening. Drew Angerer / Getty Images
The White House Executive Residence staff has shrunk to “extremely important,” a well-known source told CNN. The source reiterated CNN’s reporting earlier this week that employees remain “nervous” and “have concerns about their safety and wellbeing”. The source added that this is all the more the case now that President Trump returned to the White House last night.
“Nervousness has increased since the president returned,” said the source, who confirmed that there is an overall skeletal crew of staff at the residence and these staff are taking “extreme precautions”. That person would not elaborate on what exactly these precautions are.
Melania Trump’s Chief of Staff Stephanie Grisham was asked to comment on the above concerns from dormitory staff, many of whom have worked in the White House for many years, if not decades, to keep staff safe and healthy to keep. “
In the residence, which has its own family kitchen, several bedrooms on the third and fourth floors and around 15 bathrooms, around eight to ten employees are currently changing in shifts. The remaining staff roles to oversee first family and help with cooking, cleaning and other duties likely include housekeeper, butler, cook and maintenance, according to a former senior executive at the residence who is familiar with movements and requirements. The chief usher, Timothy Harleth, whose job it is to oversee household operations and staff on the orders of the first lady, is also likely to be on “close standby” if not on the premises, the noted source said.
Typically, the number of White House employees ranges from 90 to 95 people. This includes kitchen staff, housekeeping, valet parking, butlers, flower shops, calligraphers, maintenance and correspondence offices.
In March, as the pandemic spread across the country, CNN reported that Melania Trump had reduced the size of the staff to just essential workers and sent the rest home just as needed. This number was approximately 12, but others were brought in as needed. For example, recruiting leaders during the signing of the Abrahamic Accord last month required the social secretary, flower shop staff and more kitchen staff and butlers, the source said. Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu, and delegations from Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates spent a day at the White House largely ignoring the ongoing pandemic, focusing mostly, if not almost entirely, on signing the peace accords.
The President and Melania Trump announced on Twitter around 1 a.m. on Friday that they both had coronavirus. The first lady has been in quarantine at the White House residence since Thursday, Grisham says.