I wouldn’t normally go to the Washington Post‘s “Style” section for insight into the inner workings of the Obama Administration, but since they blew the lid off the soon-to-be-former Rep. Aaron Schock case with their expose on his Downton Abbey-themed office space, resulting an investigation into his finances that may now lead to Federal charges, I find the fluff worth checking.
And today, it revealed an administration scandal of epic proportions: the Presidential florist has been unceremoniously escorted from the White House and the Administration has been left utterly adrift as they search for a replacement in time for the upcoming State Dinner with the Japanese Prime Minister. And DC is just swirling with speculation.
When White House chief pastry chef Bill Yosses left the executive mansion last summer, the president publicly mourned the loss of “the crust master’s” mysteriously addictive pies. And when the first family’s personal chef and pal, Sam Kass, left in December, Michelle Obama heaped praise on Kass’s “extraordinary legacy of progress” in an official White House statement.
But the recent exit of head florist Laura Dowling, who’d been in the job since 2009, has been a much quieter affair. So hush hush, in fact, that most outside of 1600 Penn knew nothing about it. There’s still no official comment on why Dowling is no longer at the White House, but according to a source with close ties to current residence staffers, she was escorted from the building on Friday, Feb. 13.
Apparently, the office of the First Lady issued a boilerplate statement earlier this week via email confirming the departure. Dowling herself issued a statement through law firm Sidley Austin directly after, citing her desire to expand on her work as an author and consultant as reason for her departure. According to the Post, a source inside the White House said that the staff were “discouraged” from drawing conclusions about Ms. Dowling’s exit, and that the First Lady has the final say in all hiring and firing of household staff.
So what did she do? Forget to fluff the peonies? Make her displays inappropriately joyful in this time of national concern? Was her mere presence an acknowledgement of the administration’s lack of seriousness on the issue of sustainable farming? Or was she simply caught between a rock and Michelle Obama? The world may never know. But I’m sure we can guess.
The White House is likely to work on a replacement very soon. Aside from the upcoming State Dinner, the competition to become a White House Florist is, apparently, a long and arduous one reminiscent of reality television, so they’d better get started now while there’s still time.
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