Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, hosted Vice President-elect Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, at their official residence in Washington. (Reuters)
The transfer of power from the Obama administration to the upcoming Trump one seemed to be going so well, judging from the cordial meetings between the president and the president-elect and their wives, and the confabs between Vice President-elect Mike Pence and Vice President Biden.
But behind the scenes? Near disaster! At least according to Jill Biden, who addressed the crowd of the city’s diplomatic class at a Wednesday night party at Blair House. When the Bidens were getting ready to host the Pences at the vice president’s residence at the Naval Observatory, Biden, who is a community college teacher, says she stashed in a closet the papers and books that were lying around and firmly instructed her husband not to open the door to reveal the embarrassing clutter during the tour they planned to give the soon-to-be residents of the home.
“I said, ‘Joe, for gosh sakes, do not open that closet,'” she recalled. “And what do you think he did? But that’s Joe for you.”
But in all seriousness, Biden said their guests “couldn’t have been more gracious.”
Earlier in the day, Trump had just shocked foreign policy and diplomatic circles with a series of tweets boasting about his contacts with world leaders. That’s usually something kept close to the vest. So it was an awkward night to celebrate, as the elegant invitation read, “The Power of Diplomacy” with the hosts, the U.S. chief of protocol and the Meridian International Center.
But what’s going to be business as usual in a Trump administration? The crowd — which included ambassadors from around the globe, along with former assistant surgeon general Susan Blumenthal, former protocol chief Lloyd Hand, telecom exec Marie Royce and former White House social secretary Ann Stock — was full of whispered speculation about what the next four years might bring.
Jill Biden, though, offered some solace to the assembled diplomats and members of the international business community, based on the earlier luncheon with their successors: “I think things are going to be better than you might think.”
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Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.Follow @emilyaheil