Shutdown hits home for Trump; he lives in government housing

WASHINGTON (AP) — The partial government shutdown is hitting home for President Donald Trump in a very personal way. He lives in government-run housing, after all.

Just 21 of the roughly 80 people who help care for the White House — from butlers to electricians to chefs — are reporting to work. The rest have been furloughed.

Even so, the shutdown doesn't mean Trump is making his own bed or emptying the trash on the second floor of the White House, where he and the first lady live with their 12-year-old son, Barron.

The pared-down White House residence staff typically still includes a butler and a chef. Basic housekeeping continues.

But forget fresh flower arrangements from the White House florist — that's hardly considered an essential service.

Trump joked this week that because of the skeletal staff, Melania Trump might have had to make salads for members of the championship Clemson football team when they visited the White House on Monday. Instead, he shelled out for a mega fast food order of burgers, fries and pizza for the team.

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Donald Trump's fast food feast for Clemson football team
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Donald Trump's fast food feast for Clemson football team
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 14: (AFP OUT) U.S President Donald Trump presents fast food to be served to the Clemson Tigers football team to celebrate their Championship at the White House on January 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump talks to the media about the table full of fast food in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, for the reception for the Clemson Tigers. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 14: (AFP OUT) U.S President Donald Trump watches as candles are lit as he presents fast food to be served to the Clemson Tigers football team to celebrate their Championship at the White House on January 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
French fries and pizza are some of the fast food items for the reception for the Clemson Tigers in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 14: (AFP OUT) U.S President Donald Trump presents fast food to be served to the Clemson Tigers football team to celebrate their Championship at the White House on January 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 14: (AFP OUT) Members of the Clemson Tigers football team prepare to dine on fast food served by President Trump to celebrate their Championship at the White House on January 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 14: (AFP OUT) Members of the Clemson Tigers football team prepare to dine on fast food served by President Trump to celebrate their Championship at the White House on January 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump talks to the press about the table full of fast food in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, for the reception for the Clemson Tigers. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
White House ushers plate chicken nuggets from McDonalds, some of the fast food the US president purchased for a ceremony honoring the 2018 College Football Playoff National Champion Clemson Tigers in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, January 14, 2019. - US President Donald Trump says the White House chefs are furloughed due to the partial government shutdown. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
A the table full of fast food in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, is ready for guests attending a reception for the Clemson Tigers. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 14: (AFP OUT) U.S President Donald Trump presents fast food to be served to the Clemson Tigers football team to celebrate their Championship at the White House on January 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Guests select fast food that the US president purchased for a ceremony honoring the 2018 College Football Playoff National Champion Clemson Tigers in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, January 14, 2019. - US President Donald Trump says the White House chefs are furloughed due to the partial government shutdown. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 14: (AFP OUT) Members of the Clemson Tigers football team prepare to dine on fast food served by President Trump to celebrate their Championship at the White House on January 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump talks to the press about the table full of fast food in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, during a reception for the 2018 college football playoff National Champion Clemson Tigers. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Guests attending a reception for the Clemson Tigers grab fast food sandwiches in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Guests attending a reception for the Clemson Tigers grab fast food sandwiches in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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Still, the slim staffing may be contributing to Trump's oft-expressed sense of loneliness about life in the White House during the longest closure in history.

"I am all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security," the president tweeted on Christmas Eve.

The shutdown also has thrown cold water on the White House social scene, turning the historic mansion into a museum with few visitors.

Selfies at receptions are out. Public tours of the famed Red, Blue and Green rooms are at a halt.

Until the Clemson players came through this week, Trump had not hosted a large group at the White House since he and the first lady said goodbye to guests at their final holiday reception before Christmas.

Staffing is one reason. But it's also a matter of optics.

It simply would look bad for Trump to continue hosting social events while about one-fourth of the executive branch he presides over has been forced to halt operations.

Congressional leaders and various groups of legislators have come by the White House from time to time to negotiate with Trump, and even shared a few meals there.

But in the absence of the larger catering staff, it fell to the Navy-run "mess" in the basement of the West Wing to prepare steak for a small group of Republican House members who recently had lunch with Trump.

Since the shutdown began, Trump has put off travel to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, where he typically gets in daily rounds of golf and catches up with old friends. He's scrapped his usual pattern of spending Christmas and New Year's at the resort, where he spends many weekends during the winter and hosts an annual Super Bowl bash. The White House hasn't said where he will be on game day Feb. 3.

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Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort
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Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort
PALM BEACH, FL - NOVEMBER 12: (MINIMUM PRICING APPLIES, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE) Place settings photographed before guests arrive for Donald Trump Jr. and Vanessa Trump's wedding reception at The Mar-a-Lago Club November 12, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
Photo: Trump Golf
Photo: Trump Golf
Photo: Trump Golf
Photo: Trump Golf
Photo: Trump Golf
Photo: Trump Golf

General view of the upper balcony area during Donald Trump Jr. and Vanessa Haydon's wedding at The Mar-a-Lago Club November 11, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida.

(Photo by Michelle McMinn Photography/Getty Images)

View of the beach club pool at the Mar-a-Lago estate, Palm Beach, Florida, February 17, 2003.

(Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)

General view inside The Mar-a-Lago Club November 12, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida.

(Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)

American businessman Donald Trump talks with a group of Boy Scouts on a tour of the Mar-a-Lago estate, Palm Beach, Florida, 1999.

(Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)

General view of the upper balcony area at The Mar-a-Lago Club November 12, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida.

(Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)

General view of Donald Trump Jr. and Vanessa Haydon's wedding reception at The Mar-a-Lago Club November 12, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida.

(Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)

An American flag flies over Donald Trump's Mar-A-Lago club November 1, 2006 in Palm Beach, Florida. The town of Palm Beach has cited Donald Trump because the flag is too big and does not meet the town's specifications. A hearing is scheduled.

(Photo by Lucien Capehart/Getty Images)

Grand interior reception at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Estate in Florida
Grand interior reception at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Estate in Florida
Party on the Moon performs during US President-elect Donald Trump's New Year's Eve party December 31, 2016 at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. / AFP / DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
PALM BEACH, FL - MARCH 13: The Donald J. Trump Ballroom at the Mar-A-Lago Club' in Palm Beach where Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke after the Florida primary, March 13, 2016 in Palm Beach, Florida (Photo by Brooks Kraft/Getty Images)
PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 1: Pool that Trump built at Mar-a-Lago. Photo by Mary Jordan/The Washington Post via Getty Images
PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 1: The tiled patio at Mar-a-Lago, a focal point of the estate. Photo by Mary Jordan/The Washington Post via Getty Images
PALM BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 28: A general view at the Mar-a-lago Club Pool view at the Andrea Bocelli concert at The Mar-a-Lago Club on February 28, 2010 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Lucien Capehart/Getty Images)
View from an upper balcony of the Mar-a-Lago estate, Palm Beach, Florida, September 4, 2010. The view looks south towards a newly constucted ballroom. (Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Marjorie Merriweather Post Hutton's home in Palm Beach, Florida.
Real estate developer Donald Trump (C) w. wife Ivana sitting in their home, Mar-a-Lago, w. household staff behind. (Photo by Ted Thai/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
PALM BEACH, FL - JANUARY 29: The pool at Mar-A-Lago where cocktails were held for the International Red Cross Ball January 29, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Lucien Capehart/Getty Images)
Atmosphere during Art for Life Gala Honoring Sean P. Diddy Combs Hosted by Russell Simmons and Kimora Lee Simmons at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, United States. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
PALM BEACH, FL - NOVEMBER 12: Preparations are made before guests arrive for Donald Trump Jr. and Vanessa Haydon?s wedding reception at The Mar-a-Lago Club November 12, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
PALM BEACH, FL - NOVEMER 12: (MINIMUM PRICING APPLIES, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE) Ivana Trump and guests attend the wedding ceremony of Donald Trump Jr. and Vanessa Haydon at the Mar-a-Lago Club November 12, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
PALM BEACH, FL - NOVEMER 12: (MINIMUM PRICING APPLIES, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE) Newlyweds Donald Trump Jr. and Vanessa Haydon pose with the groomsmen and bridesmaids after the wedding ceremony of Donald Trump Jr. and Vanessa Haydon at the Mar-a-Lago Club November 12, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Michelle McMinn Photography/Getty Images)
Palm Beach-dining setting for the club members. Mar-a-lago is an estate and National Historic Landmark in Palm Beach built by the heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post. It was envisioned as a winter retreat for presidents, but never used as such and in 1985 Donald Trump purchased it. The estate contains the Mar-a-lago private club, and a separate closed off area that serve as the Trumps family private quarters..............-the Estate showcases a sumptuous decorative style , everywhere you turned there were lavish accents, but all of these tied together with elegance and an undeniable regal style. I was amazed at the countless details, the estate is truly breathtaking. #palmbeach #maralago #lls #blacktie #gala #glamour #jetsetter #exclusive #liveauthentic #luxury #lifestyle #fashion
The closing day at the Cavallino, Classic Sports Sunday in #palmbeach #vintage #cars #pbir #trophy #cavallino #carshow #racecar #bugatti
Ready for a party #HappyFriday . . 📸: @adamoprisphotography
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A military plane with the call sign reserved for the first family when the president is not with them landed in Palm Beach on Thursday night but the White House did not comment on who was aboard.

The 132-room White House and its priceless contents require 24-hour maintenance and monitoring, so mechanical and operations engineers and electricians are part of the skeletal crew, said Gary Walters, a former White House chief usher, the person responsible for managing the residence staff.

The shutdown also has trimmed the first lady's already lean East Wing staff in half. Just five of 11 aides are reporting to work, said Stephanie Grisham, the first lady's spokeswoman.

While social events have been put on hold, planning for future events continues, such as the annual ball with the nation's governors set for Feb. 24, St. Patrick's Day festivities in March and the annual Easter Egg Roll on April 22.

Those events could still be canceled or postponed depending on the length of the shutdown.

Trump has said the government could be closed for a "long time."

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Associated Press writer Jill Colvin contributed to this report.

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