Rules Melania Trump Will Have To Follow After Leaving The White House

It's no surprise or secret that the first family needs to follow a certain code of conduct while residing in the White House. For example, the first family can pick their own bedding and repaint rooms when they move in, but they cannot touch the historic Lincoln Room or the Yellow Oval Room, per ABC News. They also have to pay for every meal they eat in the White House or Camp David, as noted in former first lady Laura Bush's post-White House memoir, per CNN.

Former first lady Michelle Obama has also been open about the rules she and her family had to follow when they moved into the White House back in 2008. While chatting with Oprah Winfrey at the United State of Women Summit in 2016 (via the White House archives), she recalled when she and her youngest daughter Sasha Obama learned about the closed-window policy. "Sasha opened her window once — there were calls. 'Shut the window!' It never opened again," she said.

Likewise, when a president leaves office, he is also bound by a set of rules – mainly for security reasons. However, the rules don't only apply to a former president, but a former first lady, as well. Over the years, former first ladies have shared some insight into what it's like living as the president's wife, but what happens to them after? As Donald Trump prepares for his presidency to end, here's what you need to know about the rules Melania Trump will have to follow after leaving the White House.

Melania Trump must meet the incoming first lady

Before one first family leaves the White House and a new first family enters, the wives from both sides get together, according to Kate Andersen Brower, author of First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies (via The Washington Post). The outgoing and incoming first ladies meet for a house tour, where the current first lady shares some notes about residing in the historical home.

According to Brower, there has been a sweet tradition in the "hand off" of the house. Case in point? Barbara Bush reportedly brought Hillary Clinton to a window in the first lady's dressing room that overlooks the Rose Garden and the Oval Office. Hillary then showed it to Laura Bush on her tour, and Laura apparently did the same for Michelle Obama.

Considering the fact that, as of this writing, Donald Trump has not yet publicly addressed his loss in the 2020 presidential election, there is no telling whether Melania Trump will continue the house tour tradition. If Melania does decide to show her home to its new resident, Joe Biden's wife, Jill Biden, will be touring the premises before the end of January 2021.

Melania Trump will not be allowed to drive

At this point, Melania Trump is probably accustomed to getting driven and flown privately to various destinations. Luckily for her, she won't need to give that deal up after Donald Trump's presidency ends. According to former first ladies, their days of driving are long over.

While Michelle Obama was super excited to drive when her family left the White House — as she told Stephen Colbert in a 2015 interview — she soon learned her dream would not be reality. "No driving for me. We still live in a bubble," Michelle told People in an interview following Barack Obama's second and final term as president. That being said, she did concede that it was for a good reason. At the time, the Secret Service was providing protection to her family after there was a failed attempt to send her husband a bomb in the mail. However, she has not given up hope yet. "If we had a farm somewhere, maybe I could drive around it," she added.

Former first lady Hillary Clinton seemingly shares Michelle's frustration, telling the National Automobile Dealers Association in 2014 that she had not been behind the wheel since 1996. "I've always enjoyed stories about cars and adventures and I have to confess that one of the regrets I have about my public life is that I can't drive anymore," she noted (via the Daily Mail).

Melania Trump will most likely continue to relinquish her privacy

While Melania Trump was in the public eye long before entering the White House, her life was even more heavily watched as first lady and wife to the controversial 45th President of the United States. With that being said, it seems fair to assume her privacy might not be fully restored after she exits the White House in 2021.

As Nicki Swift previously reported, Donald Trump must have his mail searched, his technology use monitored, and he will be followed by the Secret Service for the rest of his life after his time in office. It's possible that Melania will often be with her husband after his presidency, so while there is no confirmation that her mail and internet usage will also be monitored, she too will be closely watched by the Secret Service, per the Secret Services's website.

"We experience parts of your life, but we're also there in those private times when things aren't good — family arguments, family loss," former Secret Service agent Jonathan Wackrow said in a 2016 interview with NBC News. "We're there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year," he said, adding that the job is "the most intrusive thing that anyone could ever experience."