The White House has undergone several renovations throughout its over 200-year existence, including the 1817 rebuild after British troops set the building ablaze, President Theodore Roosevelt’s establishment of an executive West Wing in 1902, and President Truman’s interior renovations during the last year of his presidency in 1952. And as far as former First Lady Michelle Obama is concerned, the White House is long overdue for another makeover.
“Politically, it is hard for a sitting president to make the decision to spend the money to do repairs,” Michelle explained on the podcast. “Because the other party will criticize the president and say, ‘Oh look, he’s taking taxpayer money!’ So, I will just say this to the people in here: The White House needs to be cared for.” The “Becoming” author then urged listeners not to condemn presidents who invest in repairs. “Don’t get mad,” she warned. “It needs it.”
Still, with its countless rooms, regal banisters, a bowling alley, movie theater, and groundskeeping and housekeeping staff, living in the White House wasn’t all strife and struggle by any means. The Obamas worked hard to keep Malia and Sasha Obama’s childhood in the White House as normal as possible — except for the occasional downpour in the dining room, of course.