Judging by the sheer number of people who have left or been forced out since President Trump clinched the 2016 election, it’s safe to say that the White House is having a bit of a staffing problem. Then again, the recent Rob Porter scandal and its many tendrils have proven this point to be true even when the president and his advisers actually like the people they’re working with. That those who remain are having trouble making the necessary political appointments shouldn’t come as a surprise, especially since, as the Washington Post reports, these largely inexperienced staffers are too busy vaping and icing each other.
According to the report, the Presidential Personnel Office (PPO) in particular is “[suffering] from inexperience and a shortage of staff,” which is thereby preventing the influential group “responsible for recruiting and vetting thousands of political appointees” from accomplishing anything of note. For starters, two of the office’s leaders have “spotty records” (one with arrests for DUI, another for “assault, disorderly conduct, fleeing an officer and underage drinking”). Despite these egregious issues, however, the PPO’s problems run far deeper:
[T]he PPO offices on the first floor of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building became something of a social hub, where young staffers from throughout the administration stopped by to hang out on couches and smoke electronic cigarettes, known as vaping, current and former White House officials said.
PPO leaders hosted happy hours last year in their offices that included beer, wine and snacks for dozens of PPO employees and White House liaisons who work in federal agencies, White House officials confirmed. In January, they played a drinking game in the office called “Icing” to celebrate the deputy director’s 30th birthday.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with taking a vaping break at work (unless business or local ordinances forbid it), or “icing” one’s colleagues in a consensual manner at an after-hours gathering. (For reference, “icing” refers to “hiding a bottle of Smirnoff Ice, a flavored malt liquor, and demanding that the person who discovers it… guzzle it.”) Judging by the documentation and knowledgeable sources the Post consulted for their report, however, it seems the PPO’s necessary duties have taken a back seat to such fraternizing. The White House even “confirmed” that this was all happening when the Post inquired about it!
Even after GOP Congressman Duncan Hunter vaped on the House floor in 2016, the tales of the PPO office take the practice to new heights…
(Via Washington Post)