The breach turned out to be a small but curious bit of disarray in the chaotic two-and-a-half months between Election Day and Inauguration Day. Nothing was normal in the transition from the Trump to the Biden administration, and turning over the White House to new occupants was no exception.

For one, there was no chief usher to greet the Bidens when they arrived. Although it is unclear exactly what caused the delay with the doors — which are normally opened by Marine guards — the chief usher of the White House, who manages the residence, had been fired less than five hours earlier.

Timothy Harleth, the Trumps’ chief usher and a former rooms manager of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, was busy moving furniture on Inauguration Day when he was told at 11:30 a.m. that his services were no longer needed, people familiar with the process said.