Now that Melania Trump has finally moved into the White House, we learn from the Associated Press she is looking to fill key staff positions that have been vacant since Inauguration Day. Fortunately, one of the most important jobs — chief usher — was filled by a Trump hotel employee just after she arrived.
While the only ushers I’m familiar with are found in weddings or movie theaters, apparently this is different. Mrs. Trump’s chief usher, Timothy Harleth, doesn’t wear a Men’s Wearhouse rental tux and ask if you’re friend of the bride or groom, and he doesn’t wear the trademark red poly vest so essential when shooing aspiring fornicators out of the back row at the multiplex. Mr. Harleth, as it turns out, wears an ordinary suit. I would totally add epaulets, but that’s just me.
The notion that the highly regarded nonpartisan job, usually earned by years of working one’s way up through several administrations, could be filled by simply hollering down Pennsylvania Avenue and snatching the least busy bellhop (OK, “director of rooms”) is just another curiosity in the Ripley’s Museum that is the Trump presidency. It’s not as dramatic as the man with the candle in his head, or the three-headed toad from Borneo, but it’s plenty weird.
Hiring staff takes time, and Mrs. Trump has months of catching up to do. Likewise, her husband still has hundreds of jobs to fill in departments all over Washington. Including, apparently, a new director of rooms at the hotel down the street. Which, as he often notes, is the finest hotel in the city. Trump says this a lot, which must cause a lot of eye rolling and “Well, I nevah’s” over at the venerable Hay-Adams.
The most important job Mrs. Trump must fill now is “lead curator,” who helps chronicle White House history and preserve each administration’s artifacts. I know what you’re thinking — you’re still wondering how that guy has a candle in his head, so I must tell you that he has a skull indention that can accommodate a simple votive — but let’s stay on topic, shall we?
While the curator job pays about the same as a Walmart worker might make in Seattle these days (not that there’s anything wrong with that), it would be fascinating to create the Trump Family Museum for posterity, would it not?
(“What’s this? Oh, that’s The Reince Priebus. It was very popular for a time, but now we use it to hold wet umbrellas. Mind the snarl and keep your hands and feet away; it can still get fairly aggressive.”)
There are so many jobs left open in the Trump White House and administration that filling them could make Washington the only major U.S. city with zero unemployment. Talk about your making stuff great again.
Washington is a leisurely six-to 15-hour drive up bucolic I-95 from my home in Eastern North Carolina. Perhaps I could apply for the court jester position. If coal mining is coming back, they might revive a few other medieval traditions.
— Wilmington, North Carolina resident Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.