Barack and Michelle Obama have decided to buy the home that they have been renting since leaving the White House in January. While Barack Obama is planning to stay in Washington, D.C. for at least another 2.5 years for the purpose of maintaining his community projects and his daughter Sasha, 15, to finish school, the expectation was that the family was going to remain to rent for the duration of time this will take. However, the decision was made to buy the home to live for this timeframe, and perhaps longer.
Although this is not necessarily an uncommon decision, the amount of money paid for the home has sparked a great deal of controversy. As reported by FOX News, the purchase amount was a whopping $8.1 million. Originally reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis stated that “Given that President and Mrs. Obama will be in Washington for at least another two and a half years, it made sense for them to buy a home rather than continuing to rent property.” The Obamas will also continue to own their home in Chicago.
The 8,200-square-foot home was previously sold in 2014 for $5.295 million, was once owned by former Clinton White House press secretary Joe Lockhart and his wife, and is in the Kalorama neighborhood. According to Mansion Global, the house includes up to nine bedrooms, eight-and-a-half bathrooms, a finished basement with room for staff, an oversized terrace, and formal gardens.
In addition, there is a two-car garage plus ample parking for a Secret Service and a gated courtyard that fits up to 10 cars. The neighborhood is also home to Jared Kushner and wife Ivanka Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Architectural Digest reports that this purchase was the second largest in the neighborhood, only trailing the $23 million home purchased by Amazon Founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos. With this purchase, there has been a swarm of negative response to this decision.
The controversy stems mostly from the former President’s annual salary for the past eight years. While his latest presidential salary was $400,000, CNN Money reports that the pension given to ex-presidents are $205,700 annually, and the amount increases regularly to keep up with inflation.
With these numbers, Obama received backlash for this purchase due to the public’s estimation of his annual salary not adding up to the amount required to buy the home. One Facebook user stated that it is “Funny how Obama can buy an 8.1 million dollar house and the Democrats and Sanders say nothing,” but if a “Republican business owner tries to make a successful venture they get hammered and are the worst thing since the plague.”
A Twitter user asked, “Here’s a good question: Where did Obama get that $8.1 million to buy that D.C. house if he had only a $400 thousand salary in office?” Another user on Facebook questions how “a Community/neighborhood organizer who gets elected to the Senate have the income to buy a house at 8.1 million,” and suggests that we expose his offshore and cash received in the last eight years.
Although these may be reasonable questions to pose, one thing that is missing in these users’ equation is his very lucrative publishing deals. As a result of books from both Barack and Michelle that could bring in funds up to $45 million, along with Barack’s previous books, he has a current net worth of $40 million. These are factors that make it much more palatable to understand how the family can purchase an $8.1 million home, although people will still have their doubts.
[Featured Image By Nam Y. Huh/AP Images]