Politics
Politics

White House Undergoes Renovations During Trump Vacation

| by Michael Doherty

The White House will be undergoing renovations during President Donald Trump's 17-day trip to New Jersey.

During the president's working vacation at his own golf club in Bedminster, the White House is set to receive fixes and updates, according to WGHP.

While Trump is at the golf club, workers will repair the White House's HVAC system, fix a leak in the ceiling, and make repairs to a set of steps on the South Portico. The updates will also include new carpeting and curtains, as well as fresh paint. Renovations are also set to be made to the Navy Mess kitchen and West Wing's lower lobby.

The East Wing will also see improvements to its infrastructure, and the IT system will reportedly be improved as well.

The ceiling is reported to have begun leaking in three different spots in the White House's lower press area, leading staffers to place trash cans to catch the water. A witness said that the leaks created a "foul smell."

During the renovations, West Wing staff who are not traveling with the president will relocate to the nearby Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

"Due to the 24/7, 365-day use a year, the estimated age of the system based off of usage is 81 years old," Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said of the 27-year-old HVAC system.

"All of us in the lower press will miss seeing you guys every day," Walters said to reporters, "but we're definitely looking forward to the much-needed renovations in the HVAC system, as well as throughout the rest of the West Wing."

Trump isn't the first president whose vacation coincided with updates for the White House.

"During the last summer vacation Barack Obama took, we replaced hundreds of phones throughout the house. Another before, we deployed Wi-Fi," tweeted Obama-era White House IT Director David Recordon.

The renovations come soon after Trump was reported to have previously called the White House a "dump" at his golf club, according to the Independent.

Trump has denied the report, tweeting: "I love the White House, one of the most beautiful buildings (homes) I have ever seen. But Fake News said I called it a dump - TOTALLY UNTRUE."

Alan Shipnuck, the Sports Illustrated journalist who initially reported the quote, stood by his report, saying in an interview with Golf.com that multiple witnesses had told him they heard the president call the White House a dump.

"It's not a lie. The president said this in front of eight or nine members and staffers at Bedminster," Shipnuck said. "It was his first visit to the club after he had been residing in the White House. It was a moment of candor."

"Someone who was a part of that conversation relayed it to me," Shipnuck added. "I found this person to be an extremely credible source on any number of topics."

Shipnuck also said he was contacted by White House Director of Strategic Communications Hope Hicks, who demanded that he retract the quote. Shipnuck described the call from Hicks as "confrontational and rude."

"It might be inconvenient for her boss and she might wish he didn't say it, but it's not a lie," said Shipnuck.

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