Forget for a moment whether President Trump truly believes the White House to be “a real dump,” as he denied ever saying.
This much we know: Work orders for 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. reveal the building to be, if not dumplike, well … a little bit worn, like so many other old houses around the country.
There are the usual ceiling leaks.
The occasional overflowing toilet.
Chipped paint in need of a touch up or two.
And rodents and bugs, too.
According to the dozens of documents, which were obtained by NBC Washington, mice infiltrations were reported in the White House’s Navy mess food service area and Situation Room.
There were at least four reports of cockroaches on the White House grounds, and ants in the chief of staff’s office.
The work orders cover much of 2017, including the last few weeks of the Obama presidency. The requests were fielded by the federal Public Buildings Service, which owns, leases and manages some 8,700 government facilities around the country, including various federal agencies and courthouses, in addition to the White House.
The old building — the cornerstone was laid in 1792 — consists of 55,000 square feet of floor area spread out over 132 rooms.
It is not the easiest structure to keep up.
“It’s an enormous job. GSA is assigned to manage that job,” Brian Miller, former inspector general of the General Services Administration, which includes the Public Buildings Service, told the NBC affiliate. “GSA hires contractors and subcontractors for the [maintenance] work. Then the agency must watch over the contractors.”
Using the GSA’s own figures, NBC Washington estimated that the building costs the agency at least $100,000 to maintain each year.
Miller said the GSA has staff at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, adjacent to the White House.
“Any of us who have old houses know old houses need a lot of work,” he said.
Earlier this year, the West Wing was the focus of a long-needed renovation that took place during one of Trump’s stints at the golf course and property he owns in Bedminster, N.J.
It was at that same property where, according to Golf magazine, Trump said to fellow golfers that the “White House is a real dump.”
Trump denied making the remark.
The president lashed out at the report, calling it “Fake News” and “TOTALLY UNTRUE.”
“I love the White House, one of the most beautiful buildings (homes) I have ever seen,” he wrote on Twitter in August.
The mansion, built in the neoclassical Federal style, is relatively ancient by American building standards, and is unlike the other high-profile homes the president occupied before he was elected.
Trump Tower, his home in Manhattan, is a glimmering tower of glass and steel divided into condos that was built in 1983. The main clubhouse at the Bedminster was built in 1939. Construction on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club began in the 1920s; the estate was built for heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post.
Most of the maintenance issues at the White House would be familiar to anyone who’s lived in a home with old features: creaky doors; dust buildups; busted air conditioners; the occasional tile in need of replacement.
A log on one of the maintenance sheets, which are undated, notes that a door to a West Wing suite used by the National Security Council was getting stuck.
“The end users have had to force the door open on more than one occasion,” the entry notes.
While most of the requests are unnamed — at times attributed only to a “tenant” — the logs note a few made by Sean Spicer, when he was still press secretary.
He requested a safe be removed from his office and a small, “skinny” banquet table be brought in its place.
He asked for a printer and a table.
And he wanted a coin display case to showcase his challenge coins, the ceremonial coins that are kept by some members of the military.
See the full NBC Washington report here.