The special perks Joe Biden will inherit as US president

Nick Whigham
·Assistant News Editor
·5-min read

There are plenty of perks that come with being the most powerful person in the world, and 78-year-old Joe Biden has just inherited all of them – at least for the next four years.

Typically, there’s not a lot of down time for those in the Oval Office, but it ain’t all bad.

While the country was ultimately founded on a distaste for royalty, the perks offered to the president and their partner are fit for a king and queen.

Here’s what Joe and First Lady Jill Biden can enjoy in their new roles.

LIVE UPDATES: Follow Yahoo News Australia’s coverage of Biden’s inauguration here

The White House, holiday home and guest house

Like the Australian prime minister who can stay at the Lodge in Canberra or Kirribilli House in Sydney, the US president gets to shack up at the White House – a far swankier version.

Originally built in 1800, the residence has gone through some changes over the years, but currently has 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms and six levels.

According to the official White House website, there are 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, eight staircases and three elevators.

Pictured is the Obama bedroom in 2016.
The Obama bedroom in 2016, looking southwest. Source: White House museum/Architectural Digest

At any time, the White House kitchen is able to serve dinner to as many as 140 guests and hors d’oeuvres to more than 1,000 people.

There is also a 60,000-square-foot guest residence for friends and political visitors to stay in not far from the White House, known as the Blair House.

Sitting presidents also get a home away from home provided by the taxpayer. Since Franklin D Roosevelt, the president gets to enjoy an expansive cabin in the Maryland countryside known as Camp David.

The cabin has several bedrooms, a small office, several fireplaces, a kitchen and a large outdoor flagstone patio. There is also a heated swimming pool, hot tub and a single golf hole with multiple tees.

The lodge in the Catoctin Mountains in Maryland is used as a retreat for the US president.
The lodge in the Catoctin Mountains in Maryland is used as a retreat by the president. Source: Getty Images

A plane, a helicopter and ‘The Beast’ (full of blood)

Donald Trump was fond of flying the presidential plane into rallies at airport hangers and taking the presidential helicopter to the golf course – and why not?

Dubbed Air Force One, the name actually refers to one of two highly customised Boeing 747-200B series aircraft that carry the president and his team.

It has three levels, a large conference room, an office and there is always a doctor on board.

“Capable of refuelling mid air, Air Force One has unlimited range and can carry the President wherever he needs to travel,” the White House website boasts.

Donald Trump in his office on Air Force One.
US President Donald Trump poses in his office aboard Air Force One. Source: Getty Images

“The onboard electronics are hardened to protect against an electromagnetic pulse, and Air Force One is equipped with advanced secure communications equipment, allowing the aircraft to function as a mobile command centre in the event of an attack on the United States.”

The president’s helicopter, Marine One, is used for shorter flights. In Trump’s case, usually trips to the golf course or, most memorably, the hospital after being diagnosed with Covid-19.

Then there is the presidential limousine which is nicknamed “The Beast”. According to NBC News, each of the limousines (there is a fleet) costs US$1.5 million (AU$ 1.9 million).

The cars are virtually impervious to attack and each one has a fridge full of the president’s blood type in it, just in case of emergency.

Pictured is The Beast, the US president's limousine.
Donald Trump and First Lady Melania ride in the limousine, known as 'The Beast' on the track prior to a NASCAR event last February. Source: Getty

Chefs and personal trainers

The presidency also comes with its own personal chef, pastry chef and a personal trainer to work off all those home-cooked calories.

The current executive chef, Cristeta Comerford, is the first woman selected for the post and has held the position since 2005. She is at the First Family’s beck and call for all their nutritional needs.

However sometimes the president actually has to pay for the help. According to former first lady Laura Bush, the president is billed at the end of every month for hourly pay for waiters and cleanup crews used for private parties.

A home movie theatre

Another thing Biden can thank FDR for is converting a room in the White House to a tiered home theatre with some 42 seats.

The first movie shown during Trump's administration was a screening of Finding Dory for friends and family.

In March 2010, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks joined President Obama, members of Congress, and members of the military for a screening of The Pacific, a series that told the story of the Pacific front during World War II.

Below, the Obamas and friends watch the Super Bowl 43 with 3D glasses.

Pictured are Barack Obama and Michelle Obama wearing 3D glasses while watching Super Bowl 43 in the family theatre of the White House.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama wear 3-D glasses while watching Super Bowl 43, in the family theatre of the White House. Source: Getty Images

A hefty salary and pension

On top of all the free stuff and the generous allowances, the president still pulls in a pretty decent salary.

After 30 years without an increase, in 2001 Congress raised the presidential salary from US$200,000 (AU$ 258,500) to US$400,000 (AU$ 516,842).

The president also gets US$100,000 (AU$129,210) for travel expenses and nearly US$20,000 (AU$25,839) a year for official entertaining.

If it’s non-official business, the president is supposed to pay for it but the reasons for official travel are at the discretion of the White House, meaning Trump was reportedly able to rack up millions in charges to the American taxpayer for his many golf trips during his time in office.

Once they’ve left office, former presidents can still rely on a very generous pension of more than US$190,000 (AU$245,476) per year.

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