According to several White House officials, the relationships between teams are not at a very great level, and there have been sufferings from low morale in the first year of the Biden White House.
Many aides are currently looking for an exit, creating the potential for higher-than-usual turnover at the beginning of the year, when aides feel they’ve been in the job long enough that it won’t look odd to depart.
Politico reported: “A lot of the natural coordination that happens in a typically functioning White House has been lost, and there has been no proactive effort to make up for it through intentional team building,” one White House official said.
Even more and more people are working remotely and, rather than in person, communications are often done virtually, which makes it more difficult to create an office culture. Informal happy hours and group dinners didn’t do the trick also.
While some say that it is a poor management problem, some of the staff think that it is the result of an insular, top-heavy White House of longtime Biden aides who are distant from much of the staff. “No new friends in Biden world,” is what they say.
The White House parties were also a little uncrowded, as for the White House’s Independence Day party, most of the staff could only attend if they worked as unpaid volunteers staffing the event. Many aides were also left out from the Thanksgiving turkey pardoning and the Christmas tree lighting when the attendance was decided via a lottery system.
“No one expects business as usual during the pandemic, but it’s beyond demoralizing, it’s insulting, especially when you see DNC and Hill staff and other D.C. types get invited. Many colleagues have brought this up to me unprompted. And I’ve had D.C. friends ask me if I wanted to grab coffee after they attended. Meanwhile, we work here, and most of us haven’t worked here before or stepped foot into the White House,” a White House official explained.
“It’s also hypocritical and ironic that a President whose brand is built on empathy and family has staff policies that fly in the face of that brand. It’s not a good look and it’s emblematic of how this place runs,” said one official.