Donald Trump has told his advisers that he plans on spending only part of his time as President in the White House and will return to his homes in New York’s Trump Tower or Palm Beach’s Mar-a-Lago on weekends.
Given the eclectic, Rococo — almost Louis XIV — theme of both his NYC and Palm Beach residences, living in the White House’s understated, neoclassical surroundings was always going to be a tough sell for the President-elect.
There are only so many renovations that Donald Trump can make to his new residence at 1600 Pennsylvania. Because of the historical nature of the home, the Trumps can’t take down walls, remove many of the historical paintings or fixtures, and will have to stay within a Congressionally set budget for furnishings, draperies and home decor — unless they use outside donations.
Trump’s former opponent, Hillary Clinton, famously earned scorn for taking many of the home’s priceless furnishings with her to her Chappaqua home after the Clinton’s left the White House in 2000.
Trump has already told the media he doesn’t plan on doing much to the 150-year old abode. “I think the White House is such a special place and it has such a special meaning for the American people … nothing would change in the White House,” he told TMZ.
According to his senior advisers, Trump plans to travel back home Friday evenings to spend weekends in more familiar surroundings, and if he’s able, will do much of his work from his personal offices, though his Trump Tower control center isn’t currently outfitted for the type of security a President would require — or with war room style facilities.
The New York Times says the Obama team noticed Trump was reticent to make the jump to DC when he met with the current President on Thursday, and that the President-elect seemed a bit “shocked” at his own success – but, of course, that observation comes from a team in transition.
Staying away from the Oval Office isn’t unusual for Presidents, but America hasn’t yet had a President who saw the White House as an office and not a full-time residence. President Obama often took long vacations from Washington DC over holidays, but his family lived on the second and third floors of the mansion. George W. Bush frequently relocated his entire staff to his “Western White House” in Crawford, Texas for long stretches in the summer.