Was there ever any precedent set, for a sitting President of the United States to not have resided in the White House during the entirety or parts of his tenure ?
Note : Other than when it was destroyed by fire (1929) or due to war (1812)

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    I assume other than when it was destroyed by fire (1929) or war (1812) ?
    – Max
    Nov 22, 2016 at 18:59
  • @Max: Yes, I've edited the question as well.
    – artfdviuyt
    Nov 22, 2016 at 19:16
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    Bush did spend about a year and a half on "vacation" away from the White House, and that doesn't include time spent abroad on official business, but I don't think that's what artfdviuyt is driving at. Nov 22, 2016 at 20:35
  • Does moving across the street during renovations count?
    – DJohnM
    Nov 22, 2016 at 21:48
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    Washington never lived there, because it wasn't built until after he left office (and died). whitehousehistory.org/questions/… Jan 6, 2017 at 18:24

2 Answers 2


President Truman lived in the Blair House for a while because the White House was being renovated.


While the White House is used as an official residence there is no law that requires him to actually live there. It is provided as a convenience and courtesy to the president so that he does not have to commute or use his own money for a residence. The building also is set up so that the president has full office capabilities and security. Otherwise, the secret service would have to build security into whatever building the president moved into, find locations to staff the guard posts and build in the full communications technology.

  • It's true that the white house is probably similar to a nuclear submarine on the inside, in terms of technology, and there is a huge military presence throughout the white house, it must be like being the guest of nato central command, which is a bit of a crap setting for a national leader. Technically speaking, a president could also rule the country with a secure PC and phone, and aboard air force one, and have a low technology palace of reception, with a good perimieter. Nov 24, 2016 at 14:19
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    I would expect outcry from the taxpayers if a president decided to live in another place because they preferred it to the White House, especially if that is outside of DC.
    – jalynn2
    Jan 6, 2017 at 13:46
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    This does not answer the question; it reads more like a comment. Feb 15, 2017 at 0:37

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