In the modern era of the presidency, no departing commander-in-chief has remained in Washington, DC. In fact, most of them would tell you they couldn’t wait until their successor was sworn in to beat a trail back to their hometown. That will not be the case with Barack and Michelle Obama according to reports over the weekend.
Former President Harry S. Truman (1945-53) and his wife Bess left for their modest home outside Independence, MO shortly after Dwight David Eisenhower became the new president on January 20, 1953. President Eisenhower (1953-61) and Mamie were also quick to get home to their farm in Gettysburg, PA after John Kennedy was sworn in January 20, 1961.
There was no going home for the assassinated President John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1961-63) and wife Jacqueline. He was assassinated in Dallas, TX November 22, 1963.
His successor, Lyndon Baines Johnson (1963-69) and his wife Lady Bird (Claudia) made a hasty retreat to their Texas ranch after Richard Nixon (1969-74) was sworn in January 20, 1969. Richard Milhous Nixon may have left town faster than any president in history. Moments after he officially resigned as37th president, He and his wife Pat flew in Air Force One to their ‘Isle of Elba,’ (San Clemente, CA).
The Jerry Fords (1974-77) occupied the White House beginning the moment Richard Nixon signed his resignation. President Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. and his wife Betty were in the White House just long enough for a brief cup of coffee. They quickly left for their home in Rancho Mirage, CA as soon as James ‘Jimmy’ Earl Carter, Jr. took the oath of office January 20, 1977. He and wife Rosalind made a very quick exit January 20, 1981for their longtime home in Plains, GA following Ronald Reagan’s landslide victory in 1980.
President Ronald Wilson Reagan (1981-89) and his wife Nancy exited January 20, 1989 for their home in Los Angeles, CA. President Herbert Walker Bush (1989-93) and his wife Barbara headed home to Houston, TX after William Jefferson Clinton (1993-01) took the oath of office January 20, 1993. He and wife Hillary left for New York, NY after eight years followed by George Walker Bush (2001-2009) and wife Laura who had to be relieved to get out of DC quickly and head back to Dallas, TX.
Now comes the last year of Lame Duck Barack Hussein Obama’s (2009-17) eighth year of his presidency. He and his wife Michelle will be taking off to their “home” in Hawaii? No wait, Chicago? Wrong again. They aren’t leaving at all. They’re staying within miles of their residence since 2009, Washington or Virginia.
The announcement that the Obama’s would remain in the nation’s capital was made by press secretary Josh Earnest. “He (Barack) and the First Lady intend to remain in Washington while their youngest daughter Sasha completes high school.” That will take them up to June, 2019.
Chicago attorney Newton Minow, a friend and onetime colleague of both Obamas at the Chicago-based Sidley Austin law firm, said “I understand he’ll stay in Washington for the foreseeable future. But after that, I sure hope he moves back here. A lot of us Chicagoans want him back.”
Among the 43 past presidents, only two stayed on in Washington, DC. Thomas Woodrow Wilson (1913-21) moved to a house on Washington’s S Street immediately after vacating the White House. He was suffering from complications of a stroke and stayed until his death three years later. Bill Clinton has maintained a residence in Northwest Washington since he left the White House, but he and Hillary vote in New York at the primary residence.