Brad Blakeman was a former advisor to President George W. Bush and member of the Bush transition team and had a front row seat to the organized chaos of moving day at the White House.
“It’s a military operation in precision and to see it actually unfold is really amazing. Our government is so unique. It’s a peaceful transfer of power that happens in the blink of an eye really in time,” said Blakeman. “It’s the most amazing orchestrated ballet that could ever been seen and it’s down to the second.”
Rear Admiral Stephen Rochon also served under President Bush as Director of the Executive Residence and Chief Usher. Rochon was the first to officially welcome President Obama when he moved into the White House.
Rochon said he had less than five hours to touch up and transform all 132 rooms in the White House before President Obama walked in.
“That was a nervous moment. To make sure everything was in place including the toothbrush on the counter top,” said Rochon.
While the move will be done in hours, it took weeks of planning. After the election, President-elect Donald Trump filled out a detailed moving sheet and outlined everything he wanted in the White House including everything from furniture to the food in the fridge – nothing is overlooked.
“Anything from the brand of toothpaste to the type of meals and the temperature in the house. That list is very detailed on what has to be in that house when they walk in the first time as the new President and First Lady,” said Rochon.
The personal staff typically stays with the new president.
“It’s tradition for the staff to bid farewell to the outgoing President and First Lady. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the first room include the President and First Lady and that’s pretty typical because the staff really becomes family,” said Rochon.