First Lady Michelle Obama and incoming first lady Melania Trump had tea in the Yellow Oval Room of the White House on Nov. 10, 2016
Melania Trump has yet to call Jill Biden, taking cues from her husband President Donald Trump about how to deal with her successor as Dr. Biden works on her agenda as first lady of the United States of America following her husband emerging as President-elect.
President Donald Trump hasn’t yest conceded the contest to the President-elect, Mr Joe Biden his Democratic rival and a former Vice President during the administration of President Barack Obama. Trump is arguing about voter fraud without producing evidence to back up his claims.
And, while much of the country is focused on the upcoming Oval Office transition, down the hall there is a similar transition taking in place in the East Wing. Jill Biden is working on building her staff and setting her agenda as first lady, which will include education, veterans and cancer.
‘Dr. Biden is enormously grateful to the country for electing her husband and Senator Harris. Joe Biden will be a President for all Americans. She is spending time with her children and grandchildren in Wilmington, Delaware. Dr. Biden is focused on building her team and developing her priorities focused on education, military families and veterans, and cancer,’ Dr. Biden’s spokesperson Michael LaRosa told DailyMail.com.
Jill Biden has said she’d like to balance her duties as first lady with her job as a teacher which would make her the rare presidential spouse to hold an outside job. As a mother of service member, the late Beau Biden served in Iraq, she’s said military veterans and their families would be one of her top issues.
It’s unclear if she will revive Joining Forces, her and Michelle Obama’s successful initiative that highlighted three areas of concern for military families: employment, education, and wellness, or if Biden will start a new program.
Through Joining Forces, American businesses hired more than 50,000 veterans and military spouses. Obama and Biden also worked with governors to change state laws so military spouses with jobs that required state licenses or certification would be able to easily transfer that documentation from state-to-state without having to get new licenses or re-certify.
One feature of Melania Trump’s time in the White House is the small number of staff she hired to work with her in the East Wing, including on her signature initiative Be Best. She’s averaged around 10 staff members while her predecessors Michelle Obama and Laura Bush had around 25 staff.
First Lady Laura Bush welcomed incoming first lady Michelle Obama at the White House residence on November 10, 2008
But the first lady has taken the lead in the administration in having her staff follow coronavirus safety protocols – insisting they work from home when possible and wear a mask in the office. Biden will likely hire a large staff to work on her initiatives.
In addition to serving as office space for the first lady and her staff, which includes the White House social secretary, the East Wing also hosts the White House Graphics and Calligraphy Office and correspondence office along with the office for White House tours.
There are many questions about the transition process that remain to be answered, including whether the Trumps will host the Bidens as is traditional for the outgoing first couple to host their successors. The Obamas did extend a warm welcome to the Trumps after he was elected despite the contentious election and Trump’s disparaging comments about Obama, including questioning whether he was born in the United States.
Barack and Michelle Obama hosted Donald and Melania Trump on November 10, 2016 – just two days after Trump won the White House. While the men chatted in the West Wing, the two women had tea in the residence. Additionally, Michelle gave Melania a tour of the first family’s living quarters and took her to see the Truman Balcony.
Then-White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the ladies discussed ‘raising kids at the White House, and you know, obviously the first lady’s two daughters spent their formative years of their childhood at the White House and Mrs. Trump’s son will also spend some important years of his childhood here at the White House.’
Malia Obama was 10 and Sasha Obama was 7 when their father won the White House. Barron Trump was 10 when his father was elected. ‘That’s a rather unique childhood, and the two women had an opportunity to talk about that experience and being a good parent through that experience,’ Earnest pointed out at the time. In a 2018 interview, Michelle Obama said she had told Melania Trump to call her anytime, noting Laura Bush made the same offer to her, which she had been grateful for.
‘Has she reached out to you and asked for any help?’ Robin Roberts ask Michelle Obama during an interview for ABC News. ‘No, no she hasn’t,’ Obama replied. Melania Trump’s team responded when the first lady needed advice, she had her own experts to speak with.
‘Mrs. Trump is a strong and independent woman who has been navigating her role as First Lady in her own way,’ then-East Wing spokesperson Stephanie Grisham said at the time. ‘When she needs advice on any issue, she seeks it from her professional team within the White House.’ Michelle Obama has talked about her gratitude to Laura Bush, who made her, and her daughters feel welcome.
‘I just want to take a moment to commend Mrs. Bush, because she and her staff helped my team with that transition,’ Michelle Obama said at a first ladies’ summit in July 2013. ‘Having your predecessors be people who are willing to extend themselves on behalf of the country, to help with that transition makes the world of difference. But nothing prepares you. Nothing prepares you for this role. I mean, it is so startling that the transition of power in the United States happens so quickly that you don’t have access to the house until the President takes the oath of office.’
‘I remember walking into that house, and I didn’t even know where the bathrooms were,’ she added. The Bushes hosted the Obamas for the traditional post-election visit but then Laura Bush invited Michelle, Malia and Sasha for an additional visit to give the Obama daughters more time to explore their new home.