Hearts has been the first woman and woman of color to hold second high office in the country for over two months since Kamala Harris was sworn in as Vice President of the U.S. However, Harris and her husband, Professor of Law Georgetown Douglas Emhoff, are still ostensibly unable to move into their private residence, because of the reorganization still underway.
One administration official said that it’s unclear why the renovations took so long. But, according to some people who talked to CNN about her situation, it’s a situation that Harris is increasingly, and understandably distressed. The desire to move into its designated house – a stately, turreted mansion two and a half miles from the whiten house – is becoming more intensive every day, another administration officer said.
The second couple is still living at Blair Residence, the President’s official guest quarters, which is situated just across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House.
There was no official explanation from the administration for the delay and a spokesperson for Harris failed to answer CNN’s comment request.
CNN has reviewed several government contracts over the past few years, many of which have been extensive foundational work, for a myriad of issues in the Vice-residence. President’s The repair and maintenance appears to be constant from recent wrapping projects on a retention pond into a $164,000 replaced tank system from last September.
According to the contract on the US government budget website, there is also a $3.8 million contract for “plumbing, ventilation, and air-conditioning contractors.”
The contracts are extensive, yet not blatantly egregious in terms of cost and expectation, given the home’s 9,000+ square feet and 1893 construction. According to tax reports from 2018, $119,000 was spent on updates and upgrades in and around the residence’s grounds, for example. The new contracts, on the other hand, do not explicitly answer why the vice president is still not residing there, leading to growing doubts – and agitation – about the speed of the job.
According to CNN, Harris was recently spotted at her future home, paying an hour-long visit three weeks ago. Harris, who enjoys cooking, demanded that work be done on the kitchen, according to two administration staff members with knowledge of the ongoing updates.
According to Elizabeth Haenle, who worked as vice president residence manager and social secretary for former Vice President Dick Cheney, there are usually at least a couple of weeks between tenants so the Naval workers who run the home can relax. “From time to time, the Navy will ask the vice president and their respective families to delay moving in so that they have time for maintenance and upgrades that are not easy to perform once the vice president takes up residence,” Haenle said.
A Harris aide told CNN shortly after the inauguration that the vice president will not be moving in right away, citing the need for some home renovations “that are more easily conducted with the home unoccupied.” At the time, a move-in date had yet to be decided. Another administration official told CNN that some of the work involved upgrading the home’s chimneys (there are seven working fireplaces) and other changes.
Despite the fact that Blair House offers convenient, if not lavish, accommodations, Harris and Emhoff’s current surroundings lack the comforts of home. Each of the 100-plus rooms, which include a gym and a private hair salon, is decorated with antiques and museum-quality pieces of American history. Blair House does not have the laid-back vibe Harris and Emhoff are said to enjoy while they are at home, despite the competent, full-time workforce of more than a dozen providing facilities as welcoming as a luxury hotel. According to the former California senator, the pair enjoys a more relaxed, West Coast informality, with regular visits from family and big Sunday suppers.