From: Andrew BEATTY
Sent: Friday, January 6, 2017 5:26 PM
To: Lance, Kirsten E. EOP/OVP
Subject: VPOTUS pool - desk signing
The pool was ushered into the Vice President's ceremonial office inside the EEOB at around 16:35, to witness the tradition of the Vice President signing the inside drawer of his desk.
At around 16:53 the Vice President and VFLOTUS walked in smiling and were greeted with applause by something like 50-60 staff members who stood chatting around a central elongated meeting table.
The second couple stood at the south end of the room in front of a flag of the United States and a flag of the Vice President and behind the vice-president's desk (more below), which was watched over by a small portrait of Teddy Roosevelt and a bust of Christopher Columbus.
The room was lit from above by three large 20-light chandeliers and had an ornate floor of geometrically patterned mahogany, white maple and cherry. At each end were large mirrors.
VPOTUS moved toward the large desk drawer, which was already on the desk top. "This is the proof I was Vice President," he joked.
"Why don't second ladies sign their drawers?" VFLOTUS asked, suggesting they could start a tradition.
VPOTUS Biden examined the desk more closely. "You know it's some fast company here," he said looking down at the scribbles. "From Harry Truman and George Bush senior and Dwight D. Eisenhower."
"This is a great honor to be in this position" he said. "It has been the great honor of our lives the last eight years to be able to serve in this capacity. Here we go..."
VPOTUS then signed and dated the desk next to the signature of vice president Al Gore.
"Alright, done" he said to cheers.
The pool was ushered out moments later. VPOTUS stayed in the room to greet staff.
The Vice President's office sends along the following facts about the desk:
- The desk is one of only four desks ever to have been used in the Oval Office.
- It was first used by President Theodore Roosevelt in the original West Wing (now the Roosevelt Room), and then used in the Oval Office by Presidents Taft, Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, and Johnson, and by President Nixon in his working office in the EEOB.
- The desk was damaged but survived the West Wing fire on Christmas Eve in 1929 that forced President Hoover to use EEOB 274 as a temporary Oval Office.
- Presidents Truman and Eisenhower both signed the drawer. So did Vice Presidents Mondale, Rockefeller, George HW Bush, Dan Quayle, Al Gore, and Dick Cheney.
White House Correspondent