20 Rules Every First Family Is Supposed to Follow
For instance, you won’t find the president driving down Pennsylvania Ave.
The president pardons a turkey on Thanksgiving
The U.S. president holds the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation ever year, where they celebrate and spare a turkey from the Thanksgiving table. John F. Kennedy is reportedly the first president to throw a ceremony and rescue a bird.
The first family decorates the White House
Congress only funds part of the decorating process. According to the White House Historical Association, the first family makes up the difference if they over-spend on new furnishings. Plus, certain rooms are entirely off limits for redecorating. The White House Curator helps balance the home needs of the first family and the artifacts in the iconic home. These are the 8 perks U.S. presidents get to keep after leaving office.
The first ladies sit down for tea
The former and future first ladies typically sit together for tea sometime before the change of power. According to CNN, Laura Bush offered Michelle Obama help if she needed it during this meeting, just as Obama offered her help to Melania Trump.
There should always be a Christmas tree theme
Jackie Kennedy is the first lady who ushered in the Christmas tree theme, according to the White House Historical Association. She decorated a tree in the oval Blue Room after Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” ballet. Current first lady Melania Trump decided the 2017 theme was “time-honored traditions.”
The first family always hosts the Easter Egg Roll
The White House grounds opened to the public for the first Easter Egg Roll in 1878. Since then, presidents have hosted the event on the lawn every year except for a few years during World War II and during a White House construction project, according to the White House Historical Association. Here is the funniest joke told by 23 U.S. presidents.
The first family should live in the White House
The White House is the official residence of the first family. That said, when President Donald Trump came into office his son, Barron, and the first lady did not move in until the end of the 11-year-old’s school year.
Windows in the White House remain closed
There won’t be a natural breeze passing through the White House since the windows must remain closed. Michelle Obama said that she was anticipating finally opening windows for some fresh air after the end of her husband’s turn as president.
Presidential pets are a tradition
It’s tradition for the president and his family to have a pet to, “soften their image,” according to CNN. Former presidents have had everything from ponies to raccoons, although President Trump doesn’t have plans for adding a pet to the first family.
The president must plan their funeral
In the first two weeks of their presidency, new presidents must make their funeral arrangement plans. These are the 12 famous quotes from presidents that are actually false.
The president attends the White House Correspondents dinner
It’s tradition for the president to participate in the annual dinner that sponsors journalism scholarships, awards, and celebrates the First Amendment. The first presidential attendee was Calvin Coolidge in 1924. President Donald Trump has yet to attend the event.
The first family pays the move-in bills
The president-elect is responsible for organizing and funding transportation for all the first family belongings that are going to the White House.
The president can’t decline security
The president, vice president, and their immediate family members are all protected by the secret service. Only former presidents are allowed to decline protection, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Here are 11 strange things presidents have banned from the White House.
The president can’t drive
Past presidents have gone as far as to call this rule one of the worst parts of being in office. Specifically, former presidents and vice presidents can’t operate cars on the open road, for security reasons.
The president should use a secure phone line
Barack Obama kept his Blackberry phone while in office, but he reportedly only used it for games. There is also a White House issued cellphone with limited capabilities for security purposes. Obama even gave in his device every 30 days to check for hacking or other suspicious activity. President Trump reportedly has multiple phones, with at least one exclusively for Twitter, per The Verge.
The first children usually go to private school
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In the last century, only former President Jimmy Carter sent his children to Washington, D.C. public schools. President Trump is also breaking tradition by sending Barron Trump to St. Andrew’s in Potomac, Maryland instead of the popular first family school choice of Sidwell Friends, according to Town & Country. These are the 13 presidents with the highest IQ scores.
The president always meets with the Queen
The first president to meet Queen Elizabeth II was Harry Truman, according to Time. Although Elizabeth wasn’t technically queen yet, she visited Washington, D.C., on behalf of her father King George IV.
The first lady usually has a specific cause
The role of the first lady has evolved over the years thanks to the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt and others who took on more responsibility beyond hostessing. First ladies typically advocate for causes or initiatives they are passionate about, especially during their time in the White House. Michelle Obama, for instance, chose many causes to support including encouraging healthy eating to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity, among others. Next, check out 22 surprising presidential “firsts” you never knew about.