The idea sounds harsh to me. But, as Michael Rubin notes:
The news is full of stories of private residences on public land being shut down because of the government shutdown. Here, for example, is a story regarding an elderly couple temporarily evicted form a cabin they own on federal land. And [the federal government] is also turning people away from privately-run inns on federal land.
Why then, Rubin asks, should Marian Robinson, President Obama’s mother-in-law, continue to reside in the White House, a federally-owned business on federal land? Indeed, Rubin wonders whether “the president and his immediate family [should] vacate his federally-provided residence for the duration of the shutdown.”
There’s no denying that the president is an essential federal employee, but it may not be essential that he occupy the White House at all times. In fact, he doesn’t, and neither does his family. And it certainly isn’t essential that his mother-in-law live there.
Personally, I’m fine with Mrs. Robinson residing at the White House, along with the First Family, during the partial shutdown. But the feds should think again about evicting the aging and elderly from private buildings and businesses that may sit on federal land but do not require federal services.