Joe Biden is facing a dilemma that no modern incoming president has had to contend with, and it comes on top of challenges already faced by President Donald Trump cooperating in the transition: his White How the House team would operate out of the building’s quarters during an epidemic.
Many of his advisers said Biden’s team is considering ways to implement its coronovirus-aware campaign practices for the presidency. Transition officials are trying to determine how – and how many – White House officials can physically work out of the West Wing while maintaining a social mess and other protocols requiring an epidemic, advisers he said.
“The full functionality of the White House annoys people around the desk and huddling in a meeting,” said an adviser to Biden. “There are going to be adjustments to take away. Folks are going to wear masks.”
Already, Biden’s advisers discussed what to do when he received an invitation from Trump to visit the traditional White House before Inauguration Day. And given Trump’s outbreaks of several coronoviruses within the White House and inner circle, he determined that it was likely that any such meeting would have to be called out.
Biden’s White House effort to accommodate in-person operations is aimed at ensuring that Biden has quick access to his staff, a requirement for any president, and that assistants while operating out of crisis office locations Can also cooperate in the event of crisis and ornate conference room. This is a more complex dimension of the president’s transfer of power that has been nothing but specific with economic and public health crises and a deteriorating president who would be a president who would not approve.
A senior transition said, “One of the big things that has to be done over the course of 78 days is to see realistically how we work safely in different physical locations.” The consultant said.
It is almost impossible for all White House staff members to operate inside the West Wing, while Biden has made room for his campaign and transition to maintain some of the coronovirus protection measures. The West Wing is a series of small rooms and narrow hallways. Sometimes desks are crammed next to each other, and many officers often share offices with no windows.
In some traditional places, such as the Cabinet Room, Roosevelt Room, and the Oval Office, it would be difficult to organize staff meetings. There is no room for social disturbances when those stored locations are filled to capacity, and there are questions about ventilation.
Even Situation Room conference rooms are relatively cramped spaces, and may require adjustment for meals in the nearby White House mess.
Trump White House officials continued to fully prepare the West Wing through the epidemic. Very few officers wore masks, and the size of the meetings was not scaled back to allow for social disturbances.
The White House experienced several outbreaks of coronavirus. More than 40 West Wing associates, administration officials, Trump campaign staff members, lawmakers and others associated with events at the White House have contracted coronavirus since October, when the president, his wife, Melania Trump, and their teenage son Tested positive. Since the November 3 election, at least six White House staffers have tested positive, including Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
In contrast, the Biden team stopped working at its Philadelphia campaign headquarters in March and never returned to full capacity. Many employees worked from home, and those who reported to the offices were excluded in large rooms with Plexiglas dividers. The Biden transition team works in a similar way with most staff members working remotely.
Biden has not been close to many members of his team. A limited number of allies were involved in their debate preparations. They have avoided going to risky places or events. A consultant said that now, whoever gets close to him has to undergo two negative PCR tests and then retire every three days.
Campaign staffers, who have been in the most regular and direct contact with Biden since the onset of the epidemic, such as his personal aide, Stephen Goeffert, have been particularly conscious of avoiding risk beyond taking those measures, Strictly restricting any private travel or socialization beyond a core group.
The plan of inauguration is being reshaped in a similar way. But there are concerns about how to move the White House along these physical boundaries and implement Biden’s agenda as soon as possible.
The majority of White House functions are through in-person meetings, often in safe locations. The senior infection consultant said that “to deal with classified or sensitive information, we will need people who are regularly in a physical location, and so we spend a lot of time thinking about how we protect them.”
An alternative is to use more spaces in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House, which is larger than the offices and meeting rooms of the West Wing. But some senior officials will need to work closer to the president on a daily basis.
“The plan is underway,” said the Biden consultant. “We’re thinking clearly what it’s going to look like.”
The White House press briefing room is a west wing space accommodated for coronoviruses, with social distance and façade requirements. Biden plans to roll back the daily White House briefing, though it is unclear whether any further changes will be needed by his team.
In recent months, under legal laws, the Biden transition team had a 10,000-square-foot office in the Department of Commerce, which was never originally used, as staff members remotely gave coronovirus protocols. Now, after the election, the transition team should have reached 175,000 square feet of government office space, including a press briefing room.
It is unclear how much of that space, which can accommodate 1,000 people, would be used if Trump allowed the Biden team to use it. But it would probably be making some use of it, advisors said.