Excerpts from a new book about the White House paint a not altogether complimentary picture of the Clintons’ tumultuous time there. Although some staffers remember the Clintons fondly, others remember screaming fights complete with foul language and flying lamps, as well as their secretive, suspicious and vindictive ways. Most shockingly, the florist remembers overhearing a telephone conversation where Chelsea Clinton referred to a Secret Service member as a “pig” because that’s what her parents call them.
In her article at the Politico, Kate Andersen Brower, who spent four years covering the Obama White House for Bloomberg News, provided these juicy tidbits from The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House.
White House Florist Ronn Payne remembers one day in 1998, after President Clinton had publicly admitted to his affair with a former White House intern, when he was coming up the service elevator with a cart to pick up old floral arrangements and saw two butlers gathered outside the West Sitting Hall listening in as the Clintons argued viciously with each other. The butlers motioned him over and put their fingers to their lips, telling him to be quiet. All of a sudden he heard the first lady bellow “goddamn bastard!” at the president—and then he heard someone throw a heavy object across the room. The rumor among the staff was that she threw a lamp. The butlers, Payne said, were told to clean up the mess. In an interview with Barbara Walters, Mrs. Clinton made light of the story, which had made its way into the gossip columns. “I have a pretty good arm,” she said. “If I’d thrown a lamp at somebody, I think you would have known about it.
Another vignette told by Payne suggests that Chelsea Clinton, (who by and large treated the staff with respect) had “internalized some of her parents’ animosity toward the Secret Service.”
In the very beginning of the Clinton administration, agents were stationed on the second-floor staircase landing, right by the president’s elevator. Another Secret Service post was at the top of the Grand Staircase across from the Treaty Room on the second floor. (These posts were later moved to the State Floor at the Clintons’ request.)
One day, according to Payne, he was walking through the second-floor private kitchen when an agent walked in behind him waiting to escort Chelsea to Sidwell Friends, the private school she attended in northwest Washington. Chelsea was on the phone.
“Oh, I’ve got to go,” she told her friend. “The pigs are here.”
The agent turned “crimson,” Payne recalls. “Ms. Clinton, I want to tell you something. My job is to stand between you, your family, and a bullet. Do you understand?”
She replied: “Well, that’s what my mother and father call you.”
This is a story every American should read before 2016. No doubt, for many of today’s Democrats, a candidate who is known to have an aversion toward law enforcement, is looked upon with favor. But I’d like to think that it’s nowhere near the majority them.