President Obama seemed to suggest on Wednesday that Secret Service was to blame for the shuttering of White House tours — but that his administration was on the job, looking for ways to open back doors for school groups.
“This was not a decision that went up to the White House,” Mr. Obama said, in an ABC report broadcast on Wednesday.
“What the Secret Service explained to us was that they were going to furlough some folks,” Mr. Obama said, in a report by The Hill. “What furloughs mean is people are going to lose a day of work and a day of pay, and the question for them is how deeply do they have to furlough their staff and is it worth it to make sure that we got White House tours if it means you have a whole bunch of families who are depending on a paycheck who are suddenly seeing a 5 or 10 percent reduction in their pay?”
Mr. Obama said in The Hill he’s now asking for ways “for us to accommodate school groups who may have traveled here with some bake sales? Can we make sure that kids potentially can still come to tour?”
Republicans in particular have criticized the halt to White House tours, calling it a political stunt more than a money saver. Meanwhile, notables like John Boehner and Donald Trump have come out publicly and offered to help pay to keep the tours running.