How can you tell that we’re in the slow season of politics in an odd numbered year? The Washington Post (along with a number of other outlets) devoted their high caliber resources into a full blown investigation of the sudden and mysterious departure of a key White House figure… the head florist. She was allegedly “escorted from the White House” just before Valentines Day and is no longer in their employ.
But the recent exit of head florist Laura Dowling, who’d been in the job since 2009, has been a much quieter affair. So hush hush, in fact, that most outside of 1600 Penn knew nothing about it. There’s still no official comment on why Dowling is no longer at the White House, but according to a source with close ties to current residence staffers, she was escorted from the building on Friday, Feb. 13.
The East Wing initially confirmed via a very brief e-mail that “Laura left her position earlier this year” but provided no further details.
Once the WaPo wrote about it, the dog pile began. CNN covered it without much speculation. Gawker did the usual Gawker thing and found some other florist to say that Dowling’s arrangements were “too fussy… too French” for the First Lady and clashed with her interior design style. The New York Post is blaming it on a possible temper tantrum by Michelle Obama.
Getting back to the Washington Post for a moment, this wasn’t some one off press release. They had at least one reporter working all the possible sources. They interviewed the Chief Usher. They contacted the author of a book about life in the East Wing for some quotes which amount to pure speculation. And in the end they came up with two quotes… one from the First Lady’s office and one from a representative of Ms. Dowling. Both of them said that it was essentially a wonderful experience having her work there and wishing each other the best.
This wouldn’t even be worth mentioning, at least in my opinion, except for one question. What was it that they expected to find? Is the Florist usually sitting in on the P5+1 talks or hanging out in the office of the Russian ambassador? Did they think she was flying off to Syria to become an ISIS bride? She’s the florist. Even if this did to turn out to be some sort of spat with Michelle Obama, so what? The First Lady is in charge of that portion of the staff and if one of their employees isn’t working out, she’s free to let them go.
Surely the press team has better things to occupy their time. Not everything has to be a mystery. But since everyone else is turning this into an episode of Nero Wolfe, we might as well get everybody in on the act. Go for it, folks. Let’s hear the best guesses as to the real mystery behind this dark and foreboding incident.