President-elect Donald Trump has captured the White House, but he may have to wait a while to ensconce himself in the Oval Office.
Former George W. Bush advisor Karl Rove said yesterday that major security upgrades planned for the ceremonial office and seat of presidential power could put the office out of commission for up to a year.
If so, he said, Trump might have to spend up to a quarter of his term working out of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building across the street, where President Richard Nixon laboured and made some of his infamous White House recordings.
"My understanding is that for the first year of his time in office, President Trump will not have the Oval Office," Rove told Fox News.
"President Obama could have told the Secret Service, 'I know you want to modernise the Oval Office with security enhancements - literally strip it down to the bare walls and build it back up so we've got bullet proof glass and so forth and so on, security arrangements in it, in my last year in office'," Rove said.
"But instead he said, 'Why don't you do that [with] whoever comes next so the President of the United States, President Trump, my understanding is, will spend most of his first year using Nixon's old office'."
He was referring to the renamed Eisenhower Executive Office Building, the ornate building on the White House grounds that houses many top government officials.
Trump, a real estate mogul, is particularly attuned to the importance of location, architecture and all that it signifies. He repeatedly stressed during the campaign that his new luxury hotel in the Old Post Office building in Washington, D.C. was "under-budget and ahead of schedule".
The building dominates the DC skyline, and is on Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House.
A Secret Service spokesman wouldn't comment on or confirm the existence of any such renovation plans. 'That would have to come from the White House staff,' Shawn Holtzclaw of the Secret Service told DailyMail.com. The White House didn't immediately provide comment while President Obama was overseas.
Trump is holding transition meetings in Trump Tower on 5th Avenue in Manhattan.
A Secret Service spokesman wouldn't comment on or confirm the existence of any such renovation plans. "That would have to come from the White House staff," Shawn Holtzclaw of the Secret Service told DailyMail.com.
The White House didn't immediately provide comment while President Obama was overseas.
In 2013, around the time of a major construction project on White House grounds, RealClearPolitics reported on construction of a replica Oval Office in the Eisenhower buidling during a planned two-year West Wing renovation. The report also referenced a "down-to-the-studs" overhaul.
The article noted that Herbert Hoover had to endure substantial repairs to the 1909-designed office following a 1929 electrical fire. President Nixon used the Oval Office for ceremonial purposes. He made Room 180 inside the Eisenhower Building his working office, and used it to record many of the Watergate tapes in the 1970s.
Obama has called the Oval Office "surprisingly comfortable". Most critically, he has remarked, working "above the store" has allowed him to retain some kind of normalcy in his family schedule. He regularly has dinner with his family on the White House grounds at an early hour.