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Interior Department’s chief of staff is REMOVED after planning indoor party

Interior Department’s chief of staff is REMOVED after she tried to have a 50-person indoor party to celebrate Secretary Deb Haaland’s swearing-in

  • The White House removed the Interior’s chief of staff after she tried to have a 50-person indoor party to celebrate Secretary Deb Haaland’s swearing-in 
  • Politico reported Thursday that Jennifer Van der Heide would move from the chief of staff role to that of senior counselor
  • One source said ‘the party was the thing that broke the camel’s back,’ though the job switch was already in the works 
  • Van der Heide had been told by a White House official to stop party planning, but she went ahead and asked for catering estimates 
  • Once the Office of Cabinet Affairs caught wind of the party it was ordered shut down before invitations could go out 
  • The Biden administration has tried to contrast itself from the Trump administration, which held at least one superspreader event at the White House 

The White House removed the Interior Department’s chief of staff after she tried to have a 50-person indoor party to celebrate Secretary Deb Haaland’s swearing-in. 

Politico reported Thursday that Jennifer Van der Heide would move from the chief of staff role to that of senior counselor after she tried to put together an event in the Interior Department’s library that ran against the COVID-19 health message the administration has been pushing. 

One Biden administration source said ‘the party was the thing that broke the camel’s back’ as it showed her ‘latest lapse in judgment,’ though said the job switch had already been in the works. 

The Interior Department’s chief of staff was removed and put in another position after she tried to have a 50-person indoor party to mark Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s (pictured) confirmation. Haaland is the first Native American to hold a cabinet post 

The party was going to take place indoors, at the Department of Interior's library with 50 attendees expected. Local Washington, D.C. COVID-19 regulations still limit indoor gatherings to 10 people

The party was going to take place indoors, at the Department of Interior’s library with 50 attendees expected. Local Washington, D.C. COVID-19 regulations still limit indoor gatherings to 10 people 

Politico reported Thursday that Jennifer Van der Heide would move from Interior's chief of staff to a senior counselor role

Politico reported Thursday that Jennifer Van der Heide would move from Interior’s chief of staff to a senior counselor role 

A White House official reiterated that point to Politico, while another administration official said unspecified other issues led to the move. 

Van der Heide had been told by a White House official to stop party planning, but she went ahead and asked for catering estimates for New Mexican-style food anyway, one source told Politico.  

The Office of Cabinet Affairs caught wind of the party and ordered it shut down before invitations went out. 

Local Washington, D.C. restrictions limit indoor gatherings to 10 people. 

Senior officials feared that the southwest-themed fete would become a superspreader event.   

President Joe Biden has tried to contrast his actions with those of former President Donald Trump, who made fun of mask-wearing and hosted large-scale mask-less events and rallies, including a Rose Garden event to introduce Amy Coney Barrett that what the source of a number of COVID-19 infections. 

Before Haaland was sworn-in as Interior Secretary she served was a member of Congress from the state of New Mexico. 

She was one of two Native American women to become the first to serve in Congress in 2018 and is now the first Native American woman to serve in a presidential cabinet. 

Van der Heide had been the congresswoman’s chief of staff before moving to the Interior Department on January 20. 

Politico reported that Lawrence Roberts, who led President Barack Obama’s Bureau of Indian Affairs at the end of that administration, would slide into the Interior Department’s chief of staff job. 

‘Jennifer Van der Heide is an invaluable member of the Biden Administration and the leadership at the Department of the Interior,’ White House spokesperson Vedant Patel told Politico. ‘She will continue serving in the administration and Secretary Haaland as a Senior Counselor within the Department. Larry Roberts, who previously served under President Obama and has extensive knowledge of the Interior Department, will assume the Chief of Staff role.’    

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