By now, most Americans are at least tangentially familiar with the unconventional living situation in President Donald Trump's White House. While Trump resides (part-time, at least) in the traditional executive's home, his wife and son, Melania and Barron Trump, continue to live at the Trump Tower penthouse in New York, citing concerns about 11-year-old Barron leaving school in the middle of the year. To which everyone of course asked: But did Malia and Sasha stop school to move to the White House in 2009, when President Obama took office?
The answer, it appears, would be yes. According to media reports from November 2008, soon after Obama was elected, both Malia and Sasha were attending the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, a private school in Chicago, but planned to transfer to a private Washington school after their move to the White House in January. According to CBS News, the girls toured Washington schools with former first lady Michelle Obama soon after the election.
At the time, the soon-to-be first family emphasized their desire to allow Malia and Sasha, who were then 10 and 7, to have a normal life. "If Barack is in the White House or in our house, the girls are going to be the center of our universe," Michelle Obama said before the election, according to The Chicago Tribune. "We're going to make sure they're protected and that they have some level of normalcy."
The Obamas ultimately decided to send the girls to a private school in Washington that was also attended by Vice President Biden's grandchildren and had been attended by former first daughter Chelsea Clinton. At the time, CBS reported that the school's prior experience with handling high-security students was a factor in the decision. Katie McCormick Lelyveld, a spokeswoman for Michelle Obama, said the first daughters would "bring with them a number of security and privacy concerns that come with being part of the new first family — and the school [they had] selected [was] positioned to appropriately accommodate that."
In other words, the Obamas selected an institution that was able to accommodate their unique security needs with relative ease; Currently, Barron Trump continues to attend school in Manhattan and, according to a January report at Us Weekly, he and Melania "will ... be escorted by the Secret Service and NYPD" to and from classes each day.
Generally speaking, that might be a reasonable proposition almost anywhere in the country, but this is in Manhattan, one of the most densely-populated locations on the planet. TMZ reported in January that Manhattan's streets will be blocked off every school day "just for a few minutes — to allow the First Lady's convoy to move quickly."
The school convoy is just part of the extra cost coming out of taxpayer pockets for the Trumps to live in New York. According to a CNN Money analysis, protecting the Trump family might cost New York City as much as $1 million per day. A subsequent Washington Post analysis estimated the real number might be as low as $200,000 a day.
Whatever the precise number, it's clear that taxpayers footing the bill for the Trump family's unusual lifestyle, a situation that contrasts so starkly with what the country was accustomed to with the Obama family, aren't happy. Aside from costs related to Melania's New York residence are costs accumulated during the president's frequent golf weekends, along with lavish trips taken by the president's older children. The Washington Post reported that in the months of January and February alone, the Trump family's travel costs equaled what the Obamas averaged in an entire year.
Luckily for those same taxpayers, the family will reportedly be picking up and moving to D.C. for good this summer, once Barron's school year is finished — and whatever anyone's personal opinion might be, that's good news for the first son as well, given that he'll have the chance to finish out the year in a situation he knows and is comfortable in. Costs aside, in the end, it's probably for the best, even if his predecessors may have taken a different route.