Jan 3, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Zients plans morale booster for White House staff

Illustration of a donkey hoof smashing a party horn.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

White House chief of staff Jeff Zients is throwing an off-campus party for hundreds of Biden staffers to celebrate their last three years — and steel the team for the final sprint ahead of the election, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Zients, a millionaire former businessman, knows that White House staff have a grueling year ahead of them. He's using his personal funds to convey appreciation for Biden aides who spend most of their waking hours at work.

  • The invite was emailed Wednesday evening to hundreds of aides and officials who work in the executive office of the president, according to a copy viewed by Axios.
  • "To ensure we are able to include as many staff as possible, this invitation is non-transferrable and does not include a guest," Zients wrote.
  • The party will be held later in the month at a private venue in Northern Virginia.

Between the lines: After the first two years of COVID-19 precautions, Zients has moved to restore a sense of normalcy to the White House.

  • He opened up the White House mess for in-person dining and he has hosted happy hours in his corner office.
  • The White House is a hive of in-person work in a federal government in which many employees have been reluctant to return to the workplace.
  • Zients has been pressing Cabinet secretaries to break their staffs' stubborn work-from-home habits.

Flashback: Zients threw a similar party when he was the head of the National Economic Council at the end of the Obama administration.

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