BY ADEYEMI OSHUNRINADE
January 22, 2013
Amidst the inaugural celebration that returned President Obama to the White House, something silly resonated as the event aired on CBS News. Suddenly, the First Grandma Marian Robinson became a center of discussion as two CBS anchors narrated the inaugural ceremony. Bob Schieffer of CBS digressed from the events to why the President’s mother-in-law moved into the White House. “What grandma, and I speak as a grandfather, doesn’t want to be there?” he said. “I think it’s just beautiful.”
Matt Laurer of NBC responded and offered his own opinion in a meaningful way. “A lot of people wondered how long that would last.” “It seems to be working quite well,” he quickly added as he may have realized the response such opinion could generate from viewers. The views shared by both anchors, is same as those of few critics of Mrs. Robinson’s presence in the White House. They opposed the fact the 72-year-old calls the White House home and the realization that Mrs. Robinson is getting a second term as a White House third floor residence, seems too much to stomach.
Based on new reports, the first move to the White House four years ago was not easy for Mrs. Robinson. “They’re dragging me with them, and I’m not comfortable with that,” she once told CBS. “But I’m doing exactly what you do: you do what needs to be done.” Those were her words after she first moved to the White House. She made it clear she was okay with the idea of moving in with the First Family, though, she did so reluctantly, considering the siblings she left in Chicago.
Since moving to the White House, Mrs. Robinson tried to avoid attention. She gave few interviews and has been careful not to take public focus away from the first family. She doesn’t eat dinner with the Obamas every night because she wants the first family to have time together. Despite attending some White House functions, including musical events in the East Room, she is mindful of her privacy and plays her role in helping raise Malia, 15 and Sasha, 12.
Her critics may have forgotten how difficult the job of a President is, especially one with two school age daughters. Some believe having Mrs. Robinson in the White House seems reasonable as long as the Obamas are fine with it and so far, no proof that the first family, don’t appreciate her presence in the White House. Mrs. Obama has said she is happy her mother has settled in and feels like “this is home for her, as well.”
Mrs. Robinson’s only solo public appearance was last summer when she attended an education event with the Education Secretary Arne Duncan at which, she read stories to elementary school pupils. It is unlikely any grandmother in America would let the opportunity to live in the White House pass away. The fact that Mrs. Robinson is a widow, may have contributed to her decision to move in with the Obamas. Her husband, Fraser died in 1991 and her son Craig the First Lady’s brother, live out West with Mrs. Robinson’s other three grandchildren.
Besides helping with the first daughters, she desired being closer to her family and the loneliness as a widow seems a realistic reason she would choose to join them in the White House. Moreover, she is trusted with the First Daughters and the First Family don’t have to worry about their daughters’ private moments being revealed to the public. She helped her granddaughters to school daily and has always been there to lend a hand while the parents are on foreign trips.
Records will show Mrs. Robinson is just one among past Presidential relatives to live in the White House. The 18th President of the United States Ulysses S. Grant had his father in-law, Frederick Dent, in the White House. Harry S. Truman’s mother in-law, Madge Gates Wallace, also lived there, while Woodrow Wilson’s second wife, Edith, had both her mother, Sally Bolling, and sister, Bertha, live in the White House.
Dr. Adeyemi Oshunrinade [E. JD} is an expert in general law, foreign relations and the United Nations. He is the author of ‘Wills Law and Contests,’ ‘Constitutional Law-First Amendment’ and ‘SAVING LOVE’ available at http://www.amazon.com/author/adeyemioshunrinade. Follow on Twitter @san0670.