Ever wonder what living in the White House is like? That's easy: It's weird! Life in the White House for the first family (its only permanent residents) is like a cross between living in a fortress, a resort, and a museum - but somehow more unusual. From not being able to drive to having weak Wi-Fi, the country's leader has several liberties taken away while living in the White House.
The truth about what it's like to live in the White House is stranger than fiction. Forget all those seasons of The West Wing or how White House life is portrayed in movies: In the actual White House, the president pays for his own food that isn't business-related; presidential children are sneaking up to the roof; and even the most powerful person in the world is scooping up dog poop. Enjoy these and many more facts about living in the White House: It's your patriotic duty!
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The President Is Billed Every Month For Food And Incidentals
There's no free lunch (or breakfast, brunch, or dinner) for the first family: All presidents and their families have to pay for their own food, dry cleaning, toothpaste, and other incidentals while in office; they're billed at the end of the month. Mental Floss notes the sticker shock caught Nancy Reagan off-guard, as she claimed nobody had informed her or President Reagan about having to pay for what they used from their salary. It shouldn't be a huge problem given how much the president gets paid, but expenses can add up quickly.
There's no charge, however, for food served at White House state functions - the taxpayers take care of this.
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The West Wing Is Reportedly Full Of Roaches And Mice
In 2017, White House officials allegedly submitted numerous requests for repairs and new equipment. But, as reported by NBC Washington's News4 I-Team, the most eye-opening one was for pest control to eradicate the mice getting into the Situation Room and the Navy's mess hall in the White House.
In addition to this, News4 says there are apparently roaches in the West Wing.
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There Is No Private Entrance Or Exit To The Residence
It makes sense the first family can't just come and go as they please, but did you know, according to The Obamas by Jodi Kantor, they do not have any private entrances or exits where they live? It's one of the downsides to living in a combination fortress/museum.
Staff and tourists have access to the Diplomatic Reception Room - close to where the entrance to the White House bedrooms is located - during regular operating hours, so the first family has to crouch behind brown screens to avoid detection.
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White House Wi-Fi Isn't Great
If your weak Wi-Fi is keeping you from your favorite sites, the first family feels for you. The Obamas told CBS on Super Bowl Sunday 2016 about the many Wi-Fi "dead spots" in the White House, and that the Obama girls got "frustrated" by them.
In the weeks following this interview, the Roosevelt Room in the White House apparently saw improved Wi-Fi. This allowed White House personnel to briefly broadcast an event on Facebook Live, according to Newsweek.