These Are the Presidents Who Hated the White House (Including Donald Trump)
For most of us, living at the White House would be a total upgrade. But not everyone who has called 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. home has appreciated it. In fact, a handful of presidents have been rather underwhelmed with the decked-out digs, including Donald Trump (page 6).
1. Gerald Ford
- Time in office: 1974-1977
- His thoughts on the White House: It’s great public housing.
Following the resignation of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford automatically became president in August 1974. Given the circumstances, one might think he’d be all too grateful for the opportunity to call the White House home. But we’re not so sure. Of the White House, Ford said it was the “best public housing” he’d ever seen.
Considering our tax dollars pay for the White House, Ford wasn’t wrong: It is public housing. But still, it comes off as a tad obnoxious. And furthermore, he clearly had no problem taking full advantage of all the amenities. Ford even conducted press conferences from the swimming pool.
Next: The home left this president feeling trapped.
2. Ronald Reagan
- Time in office: 1981-1989
- His thoughts on the White House: It’s a “gilded cage.”
Quite frankly, living at the White House doesn’t exactly sound like a treat. You’re under a microscope, constantly surrounded by your co-workers and responsible for running the country — all from the “comfort” of your own home. That said, Ronald Reagan’s description of his experience at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. seems spot on: “You’re a bird in a gilded cage,” he said.
Next: The White House isn’t for everyone.
3. Lyndon B. Johnson
- Time in office: 1963-1969
- His thoughts on the White House: He wouldn’t have chosen to live there.
While this comment can be taken either way — positively or negatively — here’s what Lyndon B. Johnson had to say about the White House: “It’s not the kind of place you would pick to live in.” And most folks would probably agree. After all, a massive mansion comes with major responsibilities, so it’s no wonder it’s something potential homeowners would want to steer clear of.
Next: This former president lived at the White House on two separate occasions.
4. Grover Cleveland
- Time in office: 1885-1889 and 1893-1897
- His thoughts on the White House: It was a bit overwhelming.
Grover Cleveland lived in the White House for two terms with a brief break in between. He is the only president to have served two nonconsecutive terms. That said, he was able to get a renewed perspective on the place after having moved out and then back in four years later. And apparently, it was a bit much.
Of the White House, Cleveland said, “I have been thinking a good deal lately how nice it would be to have a little home a few miles away and live there.”
Next: You won’t believe what Bill Clinton had to say about it.
5. Bill Clinton
- Time in office: 1993-2001
- His thoughts on the White House: It may be the “crown jewel of the prison system.”
Despite a few bumps along the way, Bill Clinton was a popular president who spoke his mind. And the case was no different when it came to his feelings on the White House. Of the residence, he said, “I don’t know whether it’s the finest public housing in America or the crown jewel of the prison system.”
Without question, that’d be one luxurious prison.
Next: Here’s what Donald Trump thinks about his digs.
6. Donald Trump
- Time in office: 2017-present
- His thoughts on the White House: It’s a dump.
Donald Trump likes to be the best at everything. Case in point: owning the best golf courses. They’re so great, in fact, that they’re far superior to the White House — at least that’s what he thinks.
In 2017, Trump was hitting the links at his Trump National Bedminster golf club when he was caught bad-mouthing the presidential residence. The avid golfer said he spent so much time at his own club because “that White House is a real dump.” Not surprisingly, he caught a lot of heat for that one.
Next: Here’s what a famous first lady had to say about the place.
7. Jackie Kennedy
- Time in office: 1961-1963
- Her thoughts on the White House: It was tacky.
When the Kennedys moved into the White House, Jackie thought it was chock-full of tacky decor. And during her time there, she made it her mission to restore the residence to what she thought it should be. Additionally, the former first lady described her time at the White House as “a moth hanging on a windowpane.”
Next: Another first lady gives her opinion on living at the White House.
8. Michelle Obama
- Time in office: 2009-2017
- Her thoughts on the White House: She dreamed of walking out the front door and never coming back.
When it comes to this well-loved first lady, her sentiments about the White House related more to the responsibilities that came with it and less to the actual decor of the place. In fact, Michelle Obama once said, “One fantasy I have … is to walk right out the front door and just keep walking.”
So do you think you’d love the chance to live at the White House or absolutely dread it?
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