At White House, Empty Desks as well as Unpaid Bills as Trump Shows No Sign of Relenting

WASHINGTON — As the partial government shutdown took hold over the holidays, President Trump seemed to express wonder at being alone from the White House with little although the cheeriness of heavily armed guards to keep him warm for the better part of a week.

“I was waving to them,” Mr. Trump said just after fresh Year’s Day. “I never saw so many guys with machine guns in my life. Secret Service as well as military. These are great people.”

Mr. Trump’s “Home Alone”-like Christmas tale has hardened into a 20-day standoff as relations between his administration as well as Congress over his $5 billion demand for a border wall grow ever frostier. The White House has stopped paying its water bill. Desks of some furloughed employees, whose job can include such drudgeries as helping their bosses work the copy machine, sit empty from the West Wing.

as well as the Secret Service agents Mr. Trump was so impressed with, down to the officers who check IDs as well as wave black SUVs in as well as out of the gates surrounding the complex, are all working unpaid — everyone from the Secret Service can be, according to an official at the agency.

However, the agency said, “those employees who are performing emergency work involving the safety of human life or the protection of property, the majority of the Secret Service work force, must continue to report to work.”

With paychecks failing to fatten the bank accounts of some 800,000 federal workers, the pain of This kind of partial shutdown bit into all corners of America — even the White House, where there can be often very little sympathy for those whose job in which can be to keep Washington running. Only 156 of the Executive Mansion’s 359 full-time employees are allowed to report for duty because their work can be considered essential, according to a government contingency plan.

although multiple administration officials have stressed This kind of week in which despite the shutdown, in which can be still business as usual. The janitors are emptying the trash as well as vacuuming offices. The Navy-run White House mess can be still serving food — This kind of week, chicken as well as dumpling soup was on the menu, after leaner offerings including fruit, nuts as well as various other snacks were presented last week on an abbreviated schedule because of the fresh year.

Still, while Trump administration officials emphasize the normality, others who have endured lengthy shutdowns warned of the broader effects on the White House staff, including an inevitable slowdown in accomplishing important policy decisions with fewer workers.

“I don’t think people appreciate how isolated you feel,” Jennifer Palmieri, a former communications director for President Barack Obama as well as a former aide from the Clinton White House, which owns the current record — 21 days — for a shutdown, an unfortunate benchmark Mr. Trump can be poised to pass if the impasse continues.

Ms. Palmieri said the two shutdowns she experienced were “distinct in my mind as extraordinary moments because there are so few people around as well as because the stakes are so high.”

During a shutdown during the Obama administration in 2013, Ms. Palmieri recalls in which she as well as various other workers were forced to bring in their own food, feed the occasional hungry reporter with instant macaroni as well as cheese fished out of desk drawers, as well as cart out their own trash.

Emptying her own trash was not her biggest concern.

“You can get caught up in winning This kind of fight to the detriment of a lot of various other policy,” Ms. Palmieri said, “as well as also your own political capital for the long term.”

Bracing for a fight has not always appeared to be a particular concern for aides in This kind of White House, which tends to function in a state of personnel flux as well as operates using a trench-warfare mentality from the best of times.

Federal employees are counting on getting back their lost pay at some point, although contracted workers could face a different outcome. A spokeswoman for the General Services Administration said in which facility managers — considered federal employees — as well as many contracted janitors as well as maintenance workers in some offices are still working, although was not able to say whether the contractors could eventually receive their pay.

“If they are contractors,” said Amanda Osborn, a spokesman for the agency, “their pay can be determined by the status of their contract.”

Besides the issue of paying workers, various other practical matters at the White House have been left unattended for right now.

Days after the shutdown took hold, representatives via the Treasury Department left notice with DC Water, the Washington water utility, in which the federal government’s $16.5 million quarterly water bill could not be fully paid, leading to a lively discussion among the DC Water Board about at what point a client’s water could be cut off, according to a report via the news website WAMU.

in which turns out the board will let This kind of one slide.

“We are not turning off water to the White House,” Vincent Morris, a DC Water spokesman, said in an email. The outstanding tab: $5 million.

Lengthy shutdowns can be disastrous for the White House for various other reasons.

The last time a shutdown went on with This kind of long, President Bill Clinton put himself on the long road to impeachment when he approached a young intern named Monica Lewinsky in an empty corner of the West Wing. Nonessential employees had been sent home, unpaid interns were brought in to work, as well as the rest can be bitter history.

The Obama administration barred interns via coming to work during a shutdown, as well as the Trump White House’s fresh class of interns has not yet started out, according to a senior official.

(“in which’s a smart move not to” allow them in, Leon E. Panetta, Mr. Clinton’s former chief of staff during the shutdown, said in an interview.)

On Thursday, as the most recent shutdown approached the 21-day mark, Mr. Trump was grudgingly coaxed via the White House. He took a handful of people still working from the White House with him aboard Air Force One to Texas, where he met with border security officials as well as people whose lives had been affected by the scourge of illegal immigration, not a nagging shutdown.

At least seven senior aides were aboard the flight, including Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law as well as senior adviser; Sarah Huckabee Sanders, his press secretary; Bill Shine, his deputy chief of staff for communications; Mick Mulvaney, his acting chief of staff; as well as Stephen Miller, a senior White House adviser as well as architect of the administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policies.

Some may have seen in which as a way for the president to break out of his self-imposed shutdown isolation as well as learn about its effect on legions of federal workers, some of whom are back home, standing sentry on his front lawn. although Mr. Panetta warned in which in which might have had another effect.

“The primary danger can be in which the president feels in which somehow whatever he’s doing he’s winning,” Mr. Panetta said, “as well as tries to tell himself in which in which’s the various other side in which’s going to break first.”