Since last week’s surprise election results, people have been wondering whether newly appointed President-elect Donald Trump will live in the White House, which he considers a “downgrade” when compared to his New York Penthouse and his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida (which, as we mentioned before, was originally built to be a winter White House)!
The billionaire’s 58th floor residence in Trump Tower has Louis XIV style gold and marble decor, with massive chandeliers, plush sofas, and gold crusted Corinthian columns. Not quite the style in evidence at 1600 Penn Ave in Washington, D.C., but then, the White House is famed for its diversity, with each Presidential family adding its own mark to the ever changing decor.
Mr. Trump has been speaking with advisers, trying to decide how many nights per week he really has to spend in the White House, saying he would prefer to spend most of his time in his New York real estate. He flew home repeatedly during the campaign to sleep in his own bed, and says he’s a “homebody”. Melania and his 10 year old son, Barron may also be disinclined to leave NYC – seeing how it is the middle of the school year.
Trump wouldn’t be the first world leader to eschew the Presidential mansion, but he’d be the first US president not to reside in the White House since John Adams took up residence. Recently elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau turned down the official residence in Ottawa because it was in disrepair – his mother famously said in disdain of her time there when Trudeau senior was president, that it was “the crown jewel of the federal penitentiary system”.
Abroad, Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama turned down the newly built Flagstaff House to avoid claims of wasting taxpayers’ money. Pope Francis turned down the papal residences in 2013, and Uruguay’s former president also refused to live in the presidential mansion, preferring his rancho and a simpler life and giving the extra money he would have had as President to orphanages.
However, New Yorkers may not be pleased if Trump stays in residence, due to the traffic complexities and Secret Service (which has floated the idea of shutting down Fifth Avenue) and police details that must mass around the leader of the free world. The Federal Aviation Administration also may establish a no-fly zone over midtown Manhattan if the President is there, which could seriously disrupt national and international air traffic.
Trump may not need to be close to the White House on a daily basis if he delegates much of the work to his handpicked team. The President elect has stated he would like to only work perhaps 100 days a year – roughly whenever Congress is in session – and has asked military leaders to bring him plans for dealing with foreign affairs such as ISIS.
He’d rather be spending time with his family, he says, pointing to his adult children who will be taking over his real estate holdings, and Melania and Barron who is still quite young and in need of a father around to serve as a role model.
There is no word as to whether or not his adult children will have rooms reserved at the White House for when they are in town. Trump has indicated he plans to lean heavily on them as well as his growing cabinet and to run the country more like a family business than a politicized machine.