White House staff instructed to disregard memo about packing for departure

White House officials reportedly informed staff to begin preparing to depart their jobs in the coming days but quickly corrected with an update.

White House staff received conflicting messages this week, reportedly getting an email telling them to “disregard” a previous message about leaving their jobs soon in anticipation of a new, incoming administration. Multiple reports indicated that the memo from President Trump’s executive office gave staff instructions on the process of departure in expectation of Joe Biden taking office on January 20, according to The New York Times.

The conflicting memos came ahead of Christmas as the president was headed to his Florida home for the holiday amid his ongoing battle to overturn the election.

On Tuesday, staff received a memo from the White House Management Office telling them that they “will start departing” on the week of Jan. 4. The detailed message apparently addressed “everything from cleaning microwaves to ethics debriefing,” according to CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang.

Employees were informed that a “comprehensive checklist” would be coming and were directed to “take inventory of your office space.” The memo issued Tuesday explained that they should empty their desks, take home personal items, and return office supplies and stationary to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building beginning December 28.

The memo also directed staff about “cleaning out your refrigerator and microwave,” and returning “all White House stationery” and “Presidential gifts.”

Staff also received information about payroll, health insurance benefits, sick leave, and more in the memo on the “departure process from the Executive Office of the President” beginning the week of January 4.

According to Jiang, White House sources said “senior staff isn’t even showing up anymore.”

Hours after the memo was issued, another message went out telling staff to ignore the previous directive.

“Please disregard the below message. Updated information will be shared in the coming days,” the second email, issued on Wednesday, read, according to multiple reports.

In a four-minute speech in a video he shared before the holiday this week, Trump criticized the $900 billion coronavirus relief package that was passed by Congress. At the end of his remarks, the president directed lawmakers to make revisions and to “send me a suitable bill, or else the next administration will have to deliver a COVID  relief package.”

“And maybe that administration will be me,” Trump said.

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Frieda Powers

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