No president in decades has had as many adult relatives taking up residence in the White House than President Joe Biden, who has reportedly turned the official residence into a free housing option for his extended family.
In addition to his son Hunter Biden, who is rumored to be living at the residence to avoid getting served with legal papers in his messy child custody battle, the president’s granddaughter Naomi and her then-fiance Peter Neal also lived at the White House for “a few months” last fall, the couple told Vogue last year. The New York Times noted in passing in a report about their lavish White House wedding that “Ms. Biden and Mr. Neal live at the White House, according to two people familiar with their situation.”
Presidential historian Tevi Troy told the Washington Free Beacon that Biden having adult children and other relatives living at the White House is “not normal,” but also “not unheard of” in the modern era.
He noted that former president Barack Obama’s mother-in-law stayed at the residence “in large part to help with childcare,” while former president Harry Truman “had his mother-in-law live in the White House, mostly for nagging.” He said former president Gerald Ford’s kids, who were in their 20s when their father left office, “were around the White House a lot” as well.
But Biden’s relatives appear to be living at the White House for convenience. Naomi Biden, Hunter Biden’s oldest child, told Vogue last year that she and her fiance moved into the White House because their apartment lease ran out, and the magazine described their descent from “their living quarters on the third floor of the White House residence to practice their first dance.”
With 16 bedrooms, 35 bathrooms, a full-time chef and a team of staff, the White House is far more extravagant than even the $12,000-per-month Hollywood Hills home that Hunter Biden lived in three years ago while refusing to pay child support.
Naomi Biden and her husband lived in a suite on the third floor of the residence, the same level where former president Zachary Taylor reportedly housed slaves. The floor has been modernized and now features a gym, a billiards room, a solarium, and a room where Hillary Clinton housed her Eleanor Roosevelt memorabilia.
“I try to remind myself it’s the White House, but it also gets normalized over time,” Naomi Biden said. She and her husband were also married on the White House’s South Lawn, the first time a president’s grandchild has used the Executive Mansion as a wedding venue.
These living arrangements could pose a security risk because the extended family members have easy access to the West Wing and White House offices where sensitive business is conducted, according to former White House ethics counsel Richard Painter.
“The problem is that people who stay in the residence with the president have access to the entire building,” Painter told the Free Beacon. “There’s nobody sitting at a guard desk keeping you from going from the residence to the West Wing.”
Painter said family members living at the house “should be staying out of the West Wing unless they’re accompanied” by the president or authorized staff.
“What you don’t want is family members just drifting on down there on their own or even being invited down there and getting involved in official meetings,” he added. “They need to stay away from U.S. government business.”
The Bidens are no strangers to housing drama. After Hunter Biden’s affair with his late brother’s widow Hallie ended badly in Delaware, he fled to California where he said he spent weeks holed up in a luxury Chateau Marmont hotel suite, where he cooked crack on the stove. President Biden’s niece, Caroline, turned to her family to help her find housing while serving probation for credit card theft—time she wanted to spend in Los Angeles, the Free Beacon reported. Hunter Biden was tasked by the family to find her an apartment in California, but he failed to do so.
Naomi Biden and her husband have recently moved out of the White House to live in nearby Georgetown, the neighborhood she grew up in as a child, according to a source familiar with the couple.
According to the New York Post, her father Hunter Biden has been repeatedly spotted boarding Marine One for weekend and official trips out of town with his father, fueling a “rumor in Washington, D.C.” that he lives at the residence. The Post reported that an “elaborate swing set suitable for a toddler” was also spotted last year at the White House, prompting speculation that Hunter Biden’s three-year-old son and wife Melissa Cohen might be living there as well.
Hunter Biden has been locked in a messy child support dispute with Lunden Alexis Roberts, his former mistress, with whom he has a four-year-old daughter. An Arkansas judge ruled on Tuesday that Hunter Biden will have to attend a court hearing in person in May, and he is currently fighting a request by Roberts to change their daughter’s name to “Biden.”
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
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