by Kathleen Willey
© 2007 by Kathleen Willey
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The casualness of the Clinton crowd did not fit in the White House. It doesn't matter how casual the president is, nor does it matter that he came from Arkansas or that he's as popular as a rock star. It should not have been that way. It was inappropriate and wrong. It diminished the integrity of the White House from the top down.
According to Linda, during the Reagan administration, men were required to wear a suit and tie to enter the Oval Office. George H.W. Bush did Reagan one better. In Bush's White House, women weren't even allowed to wear pants -- dresses only! That's very sexist, but at least he upheld a sense of decorum. Believing in the dignity of the presidency, these leaders afforded due respect to the White House and to the office. Not so with the Clintons.
On three-day weekends and days when most of the workers were gone, President Clinton was known to walk around the White House wearing jeans, and James Carville and his cast of characters would also come in jeans, with their shirts out. I even heard they would sprawl on the sofa, eating pizza in the Oval Office and resting their feet on the desk -- Jack Kennedy's desk. I thought to myself, This is just not right!
Ann Stock confirmed this to Bernstein. The Clintons' gang "treated the White House as if it were a campaign venue," Stock told him. "They didn't really understand the significance of the president's house.'" 
The first lady was someone else who didn't seem to understand the significance of the White House, the people's house. People often described how rude and impatient Hillary was and how filthy her language was. She sometimes walked around the White House looking like she had just rolled out of bed. Her hair was dirty and hardly brushed and she didn't wear a stitch of makeup, not even foundation or something to improve her ruddy, uneven skin. She paid no attention to her clothes. When I saw her around the White House looking like that, I thought, Doesn't anybody around here understand where they are?
In the beginning, clothing designers and vendors begged her to wear their lines, so they sent racks of clothes to the White House. I like nice clothes. I always have. When I worked at the White House, I was polished and appropriately dressed every day. When racks of Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera fashions showed up, I just drooled! And everyone buzzed, "What's Hillary going to wear?"
Her wardrobe was so bad that people would say to me, "Kathleen, can't you tell her what to wear? Can't you make a suggestion?" Obviously, I wasn't about to tell the first lady of the United States that she wasn't dressed appropriately.
Following the Clintons' example, their friends behaved just as inappropriately in the White House. An Arkansas couple, Harry Thomason and his wife, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, was a famous example. He was a sleaze. All he did was walk around with his badge and his hands in his pockets, with his big gut hanging out over his belt. He walked around, with free rein of the place. He made me so uncomfortable. His wife was in California, but when she did come to the White House they couldn't wait to get to the Lincoln Bedroom so they could jump up and down on the bed. Some of the Clintons' friends notoriously had sex in the Lincoln Bedroom -- even when they were not overnight guests!
Bernstein confirms that Harry Thomason lived part time in the White House in early 1993, and that he was "given a White House pass, an office in the East Wing, and a vague charter, known as the 'White House Project,' to continue shaping the public images of the president and first lady." 
Harry and his wife weren't the only ones. The White House was full of visitors with passes and some of them were the most flamboyant and bizarre people I have ever seen in my life. Sometimes it felt as though I were walking around a Hollywood movie studio. They moseyed around from the Old Executive Office Building over to the West Wing or wherever, and had free rein of the whole White House. Some looked like Elton John wannabes. And there were many very extravagant-looking women.
I would be working at my desk, with Secret Service agents around, and we'd see these clowns walk by and we all looked at each other like, "What is this?" We had no idea where these characters came from or what they were doing there. It was just crazy.
When the slow, old elevator was busy or not working, most people used the back stairs, a much faster way to get around. One day I was walking down those stairs and a girl, an intern, was walking up. I don't think she had on any underwear from top to bottom. I continued down, looked at her and thought, No! Obviously, her supervisor in the intern's office didn't look at her that day or couldn't be bothered to say, "No, I don't think so." So I turned around and went back upstairs and got in her face. "You know, I think you need to go home and change your clothes," I said. "I think you need to go home and put some clothes on." She looked at me like I had horns. "Do you understand where you are here? Do you understand what kind of people walked on these steps that you're walking on? Does that have any meaning to you? What you are wearing is really not appropriate. You need to go home and put on some more appropriate clothes."