You might think that if you live in the same house as the leader of the free world, you might get to enjoy a lot of freedom. However, that is not the case. There are some rules of The White House that even POTUS has to follow. These rules are basically a set of guidelines and traditions that have been carried on ever since people started living in the White House and there is no way around these rules. Here are some of the crazy rules that are followed in the White House:
Windows Closed At All Times
You cannot get fresh air within the White House. This is because the residents are required to keep the windows of the White House closed at all times. The reason behind this is to keep the important people within the White House safe at all times.
All You Can Do Is Look Out
Michelle Obama, the first lady of Barack Obama, said that opening the windows was one of the things she missed most about living outside the White House. She told Ellen Degeneres that she would spend her first years off of the grounds “just hanging out the window.”
You Have To Pay The Moving Costs
Even though the President, after the election, runs the whole country, he or she would have to pay for the costs that are incurred upon moving into the White House themselves. You have to wonder if the President and his family pack up their own boxes too.
The Moving Crew
There are strict rules about who can enter the White House and since the moving crew is not on the list of visitors, the house staff acts as the moving crew and brings in all the possessions of the Presidents inside the White House. The same thing happens when the President moves out of the White House.
The Planning During The First Week
Since there are many Presidents who died when they were in office, the first thing that a President has to do when he wins the election is to plan his funeral. This happens during the first week just to prepare in case of an emergency.
Deaths In Office
A total of eight US Presidents have died while they were in office. Half of these were assassinated. Since the Presidents had already made the plans for their funerals, the staff of the White House knew what they were to do in the crisis situation.
No Smartphones For Them
Another interesting thing is that US Presidents are not allowed to have smartphones while they are in office. This is to prevent any unknown callers from reaching the President. Barrack Obama was the only one who owned a smartphone while in office.
Obama got permission to keep his iPhone but things did not end there. His phone was under constant surveillance by the Secret Service, who monitored everything to the point that he compared having the phone to the phone that 3-year-olds got.
Only American Wine
While there is a great selection of food items in the White House, it is an entirely different story when it comes to wines. The cooks in the White House go through extreme lengths to ensure that the food and the wines that are served in the White House are all American.
The Ford Tradition
The concept of having only American wines and food came up during the Ford administration, and it was never redacted later on. The wines in the White House typically came from Virginia, Idaho, and California.
The Grand Piano Room
The First Family gets to redecorate the White House in whatever way they like. However, there is one room that the First Family is not allowed to redecorate one room in particular, and that is the Grand Piano room. The family can play the piano but they cannot move it except on rare occasions when there is renovation to be done.
A Historical Artifact
The piano in the Grand Piano room was designed by Eric Gugler and Franklin Roosevelt. It is still kept in the East Room and is constant surveillance by the curater of the staff who preserves all the artifacts in the house.
Not Allowed To Drive
There are many Presidents who are happy with not having to drive again. This is because they do not have much of a choice and that is because it is a matter of safety and security. The last president to drive was Lyndon B.
They Can Drive In Private
However, the Presidents are not completely cut off from driving. They can get their way on private roads. George W.
Bush often drove around his ranch out in Crawford, Texas.
The President may get access to a phone that is monitored by the Secret Service but all the calls that the President makes must go through a secure line. This is the one rule that the President has to absolutely follow without any exceptions.
“Because the smartphones of high-level government officials are obvious targets for foreign intelligence services, the government goes to significant effort to ensure that government-issued smartphones are constantly updated to address security vulnerabilities.” said one White House expert.
The Interior Decorator
The White House does not have an interior decorator. It is surprising, right? The task of decorating the White House falls to the First Lady who has to hire a decorator for the house and oversee the decorations. These decorations last until the term of the Presidency and are changed for the next Presidency.
Even though the First Lady and the decorator can arrange the decorations the way that they like. However, there are still some rooms within the White House that are off-limits for decoration.
Budget For Decorations
You might think that the First Lady and the decorator may have a free hand on the interior decorations, but they are always confined by a budget. This budget is set at $100,000 and anything that they want more apart from this budget has to come out of their own pocket.
Families Going Overboard
There are three administrations who went overboard with the decoration budget. The Jimmy Carter family reportedly spent the entire budget with an additional amount of $50,000. The Obama family and the Clinton family spent the same budget when they were redecorating the White House.
The Reagan family was a different story altogether. The family turned down the redecoration budget and instead spent their own money to decorate the house the way that they wanted.
The Kennedy Family Spent A Fortune
The Kennedy Family spent quite a fortune and that amount is more than every penny combined by the other families. Considering today’s inflation, they spent around $16.4 million on a full restoration of the White House.
No matter what, the inauguration of a new President happens on January 20th. This has been a tradition since 1937. It is on this day that they can officially move in and the prior President moves out.
Specific Time As Well
The President being sworn in isn’t allowed into the White House until noon on January 20th to ensure privacy. It’s organized so well, experts have compared it to a science or a military operation.
The First Family has exactly 12 hours to get everything together and move into the prestigious mansion. This is for security purposes, as most things are in the White House. The Obamas took 5 hours.
This is not a strict rule but expected nonetheless. Each year, the President hosts a Hanukkah party. This tradition began in 1979 with then-President Jimmy Carter.
Lighting The Menorah
The menorah wasn’t lit in the White House residence until 2001 with George W. Bush. This was a change from the private practice taking place in the White House Oval Office in years prior.
In the interest of equal representation of religions, usually, the President hosts a dinner marking the end of Ramadan. Trump broke this 20 year old tradition in 2017.
Cinco De Mayo Celebration
Trump broke another party tradition, choosing not to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, which has been a White House tradition for 16 years.
Themes For The Tree
Weirdly enough, every White House Christmas tree has a theme. This began with Jackie Kennedy in 1961. She based the tree on “Nutcracker” by Tchaikovsky.
Tradition Continues On
The tree theme tradition has featured themes like Flower Tree, Antique Toy, and Mother Goose. Most recently it was Time-Honored Traditions.
What’s in The Football? No one knows. The 45-pound luggage comes with a President whenever they travel. Maybe it’s clothes, maybe it’s super-secret nuclear codes.
Either way, we’ll never know! Unless we become the President of the United States of America.
The Secret Service
President McKinley was assassinated in 1901, and from that event, the Secret Service was born. The service protects the President and their family as well as the Vice President and their family.
However, if they want, the President or their family can deny the Secret Service’s protection. Eric Trump denied the protection by the Secret Service in 2017.
Easter Egg Roll Rules
This might be a rule you’ve heard before, as it’s one of the oldest and most public traditions. This one began in 1878 with President Abraham Lincoln and continues to this day! Each participant leaves with a wooden egg.
Canceling Easter Roll
There are only two instances that cause the Easter Roll to be canceled. One is a major construction done to the White House and another is war.
The President’s house is known as the White House, but do you know the name of his car? It’s actually named Beast, among other names such as The Beat, Cadillac One, and First Car.
The car is more like a tank. It’s built with enough armor to withstand a bomb, including bulletproof glass and an internal oxygen system. It can also withstand a chemical attack.
Paying For Things
Presidents don’t just live off of taxpayer money. In fact, it’s not a very cushy job. They still pay for all their own toiletries, cleaning, and other personal items.
Paying For Food
By the same logic, the President still pays for all his own meals. Turns out this isn’t much of a problem when you’re not paying rent though!
The car, unsurprisingly, doesn’t allow open windows. If they can’t open them in the house, they definitely can’t open them in the car! It only happens rarely, and only on private property.
Starting in the 1940s, The National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation has been a public tradition for many years. It wasn’t until Reagan that a turkey was “pardoned”, even though he didn’t say that word.
The official pardon didn’t begin until 1999 with Bill Clinton. Since then, President’s continue to pardon turkeys on Thanksgiving.
Members of the First Family are constantly under the watchful eye of Secret Service. Gone are the days of just heading off to wherever, whenever you want. No matter what, you’re being watched.
Four Hours To Plan
Everything is planned when you’re the president. Four hours ahead, to be specific. The secret service is required to know everything the President plans to do at least four hours prior to the event, but usually more.
Impromptu Basketball Match
In the interest of athleticism and being a cool President, Obama wanted to stage an impromptu basketball game but was denied because of the four-hour rule.
It’s not a rule so much as an expectation. The Correspondent’s Dinner is a chance for a President to show they are relatable and can take a joke, and therefore are expected to show up.
Freedom Of Speech
The Correspondent’s Dinner is a celebration of the freedom of speech, and usually includes appearances by some of the biggest names in politics and comedy.
The President is legally not allowed to earn a little extra on the side. Outside of the issued government salary of $400,000, the President can’t make any more income.
If the President has a business, they must hand it over to someone else while in office. If they have any investments, they must put these investments into a blind trust during their tenure.
First Ladies Talk
It’s a tradition for the First Ladies to meet for tea in the White House to discuss what life is like as First Lady. Many of the First Ladies have met in private to discuss matters of Presidential living.
A Private Meeting
The Presidents moving in and out of the office also get together to meet in private. Wish we could overhear a few of those conversations!
Social Media Supervision
The First Children are closely monitored by the Secret Service, especially in the age of social media. The Obama girls were not permitted to operate any accounts outside of Facebook, and even that was closely watched.
Not Above The Law
They might be the law, but the President is not above the law. If a President breaks the law, they are like everyone else, though probably with more media coverage.
Declaration Of War
The President is not allowed to declare war on another country. That power falls to Congress. The last time this happened was for World War II.
With this power, Congress has declared war 11 times. Though the US has countless conflicts with foreign nations, there is not a declared war on any of them.
Family In The House
Family isn’t supposed to have any role in the administration. That being said, Trump appointed many of his children and their spouses into roles in the White House.
If a President wants a special room, there is a lot of special approval needed beforehand. President Obama had a basketball court added to the White House.
There is a White House snowball fight that takes place every year with the entire First Family, given that there’s enough snow to play.
Pet For The House
Most Presidents have a family pet to help soften the family image and increase likability. Typically, it’s a dog or two!