The White House Visitors Office typically hits the pause button on tours during presidential transitions, as the new president hires a staff to run the operation. But they usually resume much more quickly, and lawmakers — who arrange for the tours for their constituents — had been agitating over the unusually long break. “This time-honored tradition of allowing visitors into the White House was started by Thomas Jefferson in 1805,” a group of two dozen lawmakers wrote in a letter to the White House on Monday. “Previous administrations have been quick to reopen the White House doors to the public, even doing so the day after the Inauguration.”
The first lady, who lives in Manhattan as her 10-year-old son finishes the school year, has been slow to staff up in the East Wing, and the White House has not yet announced a director of the visitors office. But she hired as her chief of staff Lindsay Reynolds, who was associate director of the visitors office under President George W. Bush, who pledged to make tours a priority, and to use the break to renovate and improve the tour experience.
And as Trump begins to navigate her new role, her statement indicated that she would take on a very traditional aspect of first-ladydom: “I am committed to the restoration and preservation of our Nation’s most recognizable landmark.”