After President McKinley passed away in 1901, Congress passed a law that officially charged the secret service with protecting the president and their family. The secret service also has the responsibility of protecting the vice president’s family and the president-elect and vice president-elect in the event of an election year.
There are, however, certain family members who refuse the protection of the secret service. For example, in September 2017, Donald Trump Jr. gave up his right to be protected by the secret service.
A Budget Just for Decorating
Just because the president can have access to the best interior decorator, it doesn't mean he can go all out with the cost. Presidents have a budget of $100,000 for decorating and anything over that amount will come directly out of their own pockets. The modest Carter family reportedly did use all of the then budget of $50,000.
The Reagans turned down the offer and redecorated with their own money. Meanwhile the Clintons and Obamas spent around the same amount as the Carters, with the Obamas reportedly spending the money out of pocket. But none of those figures comes close to the amount that the Kennedy's spent on a full restoration of the famous house. When considering today's inflation, they spent a reported $16.4 million on revamping the home. The Trumps reportedly spent around $1.75 million on furniture for the White House and offices tied to it. That figure reportedly included $17,000 for custom rugs, $7,000 for “furniture pedestals," and $5,000 worth of wallpaper. It is unclear who paid for what, given the lack of Trump's tax returns.
Interior Design Rules
If you imagine the first family dancing and prancing around the White House wherever their heart pleases and doing what they wish, you are sorely mistaken. There are rooms that even the first family is prohibited from changing. Among the rooms which the First Family can't change are the Oval Office and the Lincoln Bedroom. The White House mirrors more a museum than an actual house. In September 1961, Congress put into place legislation declaring the White House to be a museum. This legislation allowed the President to declare furniture, fixtures, and decorative arts as historic or of artistic interest. This prevented the items from being sold (as many objects in the mansion had been in the past 150 years). When the items aren't in use or on display at the White House, they are handed over to the Smithsonian Institution for preservation, study, storage, or exhibition. The White House exercises the right to have these items returned.
Some decoration changes require the approval by the historical committee that oversees the White House, the Committee for the Preservation of the White House. This committee is responsible for maintaining the historical integrity of the White House. They work with each First Family, usually represented by the First Lady, the White House Curator, and the Chief Usher, to carry out the family's proposals for making changes in the home. The First Family is free to make decoration changes on the second and third floors as they wish. These are the private quarters and they include more than a dozen rooms over two floors. The First Family can bring in their own furniture, bedding, rugs, and decorations. Plus, they can repaint the walls.
The Social Media Issue
In a time where children are growing up on social media, the many restrictions placed on first children can be very taxing. During Obama's presidency, Sasha and Malia Obama were not allowed to open Twitter accounts and they had very limited access to Facebook. Although it's surely an honor to be a part of the first family, it can be hard for children to be isolated from doing what other kids are doing. Dr. Jim Ronan, author, and professor of political science at Villanova University listed another setback that former presidents have discussed and that's missing out on their children's school events and hobbies. The amount of security that would need to be present at such events would be overwhelming. For this reason, some presidents’ children attended school right in the White House (complete with a classroom and a playground).
Conveniently enough, Michelle Obama isn't such a fan of social media for young children anyways. She shared “I still am not a big believer in Facebook for young people … particularly for them, because they’re in the public eye. Some of it’s stuff they don’t need to see and be a part of … So we try to protect them from too much of the public voice." Another interesting word on social media; it was recently reported that the president cannot block people on social media as it goes against the First Amendment.
Earning Some Extra Money
Everybody likes to earn a little extra cash, right? Well, while the president earns a hefty $400,000 per year, he's forbidden from earning more money outside of his salary. So, don't expect to be seeing the president moonlighting anytime soon.
If the president owns a business prior to taking office, they must take a hands-off approach to how it is run. Meaning, they must leave the business in somebody else's hands. If they have investments (which almost every president does) it must go into a blind trust during their time in service.