Does the President Have to Live

in the White House?

No, with some reservations. If it were not for the Secret Service requirement, living in the White House is a privilege but not mandatory. U.S. law only entitles the president to live at the White House's executive residence, but doesn't require it. Many presidents have had other homes (second homes) going back to the time of Thomas Jefferson with his retreat in Poplar Forest, near his ranch in Texas and Ronald Reagan enjoyed the "West Coast White House." Of course, living outside of the White House is a headache for the Secret Service. But thanks god to the fact that the president needs to be in Washington most of the time anyway. And when he is in Washington, the most secure place for him to be is the White House.

So, since the President needs to be protected and since the Secret Service is mandated by Congress, the President does not have much of a choice other than accept to live in the White House. If the President confronts the Secret Service and resists to be protected (by living outside of the White House), they can easily go to Congress to force him to stay in the White House.

 

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