As the public learns more from the deep dives from witness interviews hosted by the Jan. 6 investigative committee, a closer look into the psyche of former President Donald Trump during the tense transition period after his November defeat and prior to the inauguration continues to be revealed. Trump's attitude extended all the way through Inauguration Day, with White House personnel being the victims of his harsh manner.
According to Axios, former White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham testified to the Jan. 6 committee that Trump became incensed when he learned that the White House Chief Usher, Timothy Harleth, a former employee of the Trump Organization, went above and beyond his responsibilities to communicate with President Joe Biden's transition team to assist with the logistics for the Bidens move into the White House.
It is common knowledge that the outgoing White House administration and staff work with the incoming White House administration and staff to make the transition as easy as possible, in what is expected and supposed to be a politics-free process. Trump wanted his administration and staff to blatantly ignore this tradition, especially the employees that he had ties to prior to serving as President.
In Grisham's interview, upon learning about Harleth's actions, Trump, along with then-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, wanted to fire Harleth immediately, no questions asked. According to Grisham, former First Lady Melania Trump intervened and demanded her husband not to fire Harleth. Melania had personal interest in the situation, as she had appointed Harleth to the position upon entering the White House in 2017.
According to the New York Times, Harleth was fired three weeks later on Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.
The lack of a Chief Usher meant that, when the Bidens arrived at the White House for the first time, there was no designated personnel to have the White House doors open, so they arrived to a closed set of doors.