The White House looks magnificent from the outside — regal almost. But even in all its magnificence, on the inside it suffers from the same problems any ol’ house would: Maintenance problems.
According to NBC 4 Washington, the number of times Trump White House officials sent work orders to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) this year resulted in hundreds of requests (though NBC notes that a similar number was made in 2016). Building administrators of the GSA address maintenance needs in both the West and East Wing of the White House along with about 9,000 federal government facilities.
— Shomari Stone (@shomaristone) November 30, 2017
Among the work order submissions were several requests for pest control due to an infiltration of vermin in rooms such as the Situation Room and the White House Navy mess food service area (the mice have taken over!). According to International Business Times, mousetraps were then placed outside Mike Pence’s office.
Ants were also found at the chief of staff’s office, and cockroaches were spotted in four different parts of the White House. Among other things, there have been requests to replace a new toilet seat in the Oval Office bathroom and a calling to turn up the heat and redecorate some rooms. For one in particular, Melania’s second-floor East Wing office, there was a request for new draperies to achieve an “overall effect of the room being taller.”
Trump called the White House WHAT?
Back in August, GOLF broke a story that President Trump told some of his golf partners: “That White House is a real dump.” A White House spokesperson denied these allegations, but not before damage was done.
Former White House residence staff told a TIME reporter, “any man or woman who cannot appreciate the history and significance of the White House Residence does not deserve to live there,” and “it’s a terrible slap in the face.”
Chelsea Clinton went to Twitter right after the story broke, tweeting: “Thank you to all the White House ushers, butlers, maids, chefs, florists, gardeners, plumbers, engineers & curators for all you do every day.”
Thank you to all the White House ushers, butlers, maids, chefs, florists, gardeners, plumbers, engineers & curators for all you do every day https://t.co/rjQS9HeALG
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) August 1, 2017
Trump hasn’t been the only one to voice complaints though. TIME reports that Laura Bush “occasionally complained” and asked painters to do fresh touch-ups, but former White House florist Bob Scanlan told the magazine she was doing it out of “pride in the house.”
In Barack Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope (2006), he described his first impression of the White House when he visited as a senator: “The inside of the White House doesn’t have the luminous quality that you might expect from TV or film; it seems well-kept but worn, a big old house that one imagines might be a bit drafty on cold winter nights.” (He then goes on, however, to lament about the “history that had been made there.”)
“They are old buildings,” said former GSA Inspector General Brian Miller. And he’s right — the White House was built in 1792. Miller continued, “Any of us who have old houses know old houses need a lot of work.”
Truth of the matter is, we’d take living in the White House over any ol’ house any day…mice and all.