When President Obama vacates the White House after eight years of “fundamentally transforming” America, there will be a lot of undoing and redoing for the next occupant of the Oval Office to undertake.
Repealing Obamacare. Lowering taxes. Reducing the debt. Rebuilding the military. Securing the border.
But when Donald Trump moves into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in 2017, he may have to conduct the nation’s business outside of the Oval Office itself because of a fundamental transformation Obama failed to do.
On Wednesday, Fox News reported that President-elect Trump may not be able to use the Oval Office for a year. Why? Well, it seems that important security upgrades were deferred by the Obama administration, leaving the improvements to whoever came after him.
The U.K. Daily Mail reported that bulletproof glass needs to be installed, among other things that are, you know, kind of important.
“My understanding is that for the first year of his time in office, President Trump will not have the Oval Office,” former Bush administration official Karl Rove told Fox News Wednesday.
“President Obama could have told the Secret Service, ‘I know you want to modernize the Oval Office with security enhancements — literally strip it down to the bare walls and build it back up so we’ve got bulletproof glass and so forth and so on, security arrangements in it, in my last year in office,’” Rove said.
“But instead he said, ‘Why don’t you do that (with) whoever comes next?’”
Rove suggested that President Trump “will spend most of his first year using Richard Nixon’s old office in the Old Executive Office Building across Executive Drive and up the Navy steps.”
This is important in more ways than one, as that office would be out of the way. The Oval Office has a major significance for the president in that it puts most of his staff well within reach.
And this isn’t a problem that just reared its ugly head, either. In February of 2013, RealClearPolitics reported that a replica Oval Office was being built for President Obama because of the upcoming renovations. That was three and a half years ago. What, pray tell, has the president been doing since then? Deciding between ecru and pail taupe paint for the window frames?
If this isn’t a perfect synecdoche for the Obama administration’s eight years in the White House, I don’t know what is. Here are important — urgent, in fact — repairs that needed to be done on the Oval Office. Did Obama do them under his administration? Nope. And why didn’t he? Appearances. The ability for Obama to use the Oval Office, instead of a facsimile of the Oval Office. Any inconveniences ought to fall to his successor.
This is how the president has handled Obamacare, ensuring that the biggest premium hits and penalties occur under whoever replaced him. The debt? The next chief executive is going to have to figure out how to stop it from spiraling further out of control. Islamic State? Have fun over there, President-elect Trump, because Obama “ended” the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, don’t you know!
In fact, the only thing he didn’t neglect during his final few years in office was nominating a Supreme Court justice to replace Antonin Scalia, doing so as the body was barely cool. He did this even though the Republicans wouldn’t consider the nomination. Nice priorities. Politics, anyone?
For the last eight years, everything important, anything inconvenient has been kicked down the road by this administration. That road has ended, and a new president has the responsibility to pick up the pieces. We can only hope he is more responsible in this aspect than the man he replaces.
And considering all the heavy lifting for a President Trump already under heavy fire from adversaries, those contractors will have to install vital safeguards.
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