While President Donald Trump is busy calling people “rats” on Twitter, it looks like literal rats are running onto the White House lawn. For years, Washington, D.C., has dealt with a plague of the four-legged rodents, and they are not discerning about where they show up. Big fancy house painted white? Yes, they go there.
According to a report from the Washington Post, on Monday, one of the creatures scurried across the lawn at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and not surprisingly, somebody was there to report on the crazy scene.
Reporter John Roberts took to Twitter to share the scene with his followers. He wrote, “I am standing in our @FoxNews standup location on the @WhiteHouse North Lawn and notice in my peripheral vision something moving at my left foot. I assumed it was one of the ubiquitous WH squirrels. But no… it was a big brown rat.”
A rat is a far less welcome sight than a squirrel, and not what a reporter would hope to see reporting on location at the White House. However, given the liberal use of the term recently by the president of the United States, perhaps the D.C. contingent of the rodents feels emboldened to go even further than they have ever gone before.
Rats are everywhere in D.C. Even on the White House lawn. https://t.co/b3r778gEIL
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) December 18, 2018
It seems that rats are the great equalizer in the District and very likely the world. According to D.C. rat specialist Gerard Brown, who is a program manager at the Department of Health, revealed a shocking fact. He said, “Every human in D.C. comes within five feet of a rat every single day. They just may not always know it.”
Unfortunately, the U.S. capitol experienced what Brown called a “perfect storm” of flushing rats out in recent weeks. Three factors cause rats to go on the move, and they are food sources, weather, and population density, which D.C. has had in spades lately.
The good news is that in a few short weeks, on January 1, an additional $906,000 will flood the city with increased measures to combat its rat problem. It may seem crazy, but in 2017, the city received 5,310 calls about rats on its 311 line, and officials believe that 2018 calls remain at a similar level. The number jumped a shocking 50 percent from 2016 levels.
So far, the White House itself hasn’t experienced an infestation the way the rest of the city has, though. National Park Service spokeswoman Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles said, “We haven’t seen a change, or a need for immediate concern, around the White House.”
The National Park Service maintains both the house grounds and Lafayette Square Park.
As for other so-called rats in D.C.? Well, they’re a completely different type of issue.