First lady recruits Trump hotel employee to be White House chief usher

Two months after the White House fired the first female White House Chief Usher, Angella Reid, First Lady Melania Trump announced the new chief usher would be Timothy Harleth, a former Trump International Hotel employee. 

Harleth, the director of rooms at the Trump International in Washington, was selected on Friday by the first lady to oversee more than 90 staff members in the White House. 

“I am so pleased Timothy will be joining our team,” Trump said in a statement. “He was selected because of his impressive work history and management skills.  My husband and I know he will be successful in this vital role within the White House.”

A reaction from Harleth was provided in the press release about the selection and his willingness to accept the position.

“I am so honored at the opportunity to serve the First Family in their new home,” Harleth said. “I look forward to applying my experience with hospitality, leadership, and political protocol in order to ensure the First Family’s needs are met, while also protecting and preserving the rich history of the White House.  I am excited to work alongside the accomplished and professional staff who are already in place.”

The first lady said Harleth would “bring more than a decade of hospitality and leadership experience to the White House” and would begin work on July 3.

As noted by the Washington Post in a story about Reid’s firing in May, the position typically turns over infrequently. Just nine chief ushers altogether served in the 20th century.

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According to the White House Historical Organization, the title of “chief usher” became official in 1897, but the role dates back even earlier, to Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.

Overseeing butlers, florists and maids to cooks and doormen, the chief usher essentially serves as the White House’s general manager.

Reid was the first woman to serve the role. She was dismissed with little public explanation. 

“It’s not uncommon you might have a transition of staff when a new administration comes in,” said Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “It’s nothing more than that.”  

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