8 Surprising Things That Weren’t Always Allowed In The White House
It’s a no-brainer that you can’t just bring anything you’d like to if you’re visiting the White House. There’s tons of security, after all, and it’s their job to protect the President of the United States.
That said, you might be surprised that these 8 items are completely banned.
I don’t know if this holds up currently, but Bush Senior once famously quipped:
“I do not like broccoli. My mother made me eat it. I’m President of the United States, and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli! Just as Poland had a rebellion against totalitarianism, I am rebelling against broccoli, and I refuse to give ground.”
7. Blue Jeans
George W. outright banned blue jeans in the White House, at least while he was there.
He wanted a spiffier, more professional look, even for guests – excluding U2 singer Bono, who visited in 2005 wearing black jeans and sunglasses.
I mean, what are you gonna do?
Not terribly surprising, since they’re both bad for your health and not great for the preservation of historic buildings or artifacts, but it was Bill Clinton who finally banned smoking in the White House.
This may have come at First Lady and Secretary of State Hilary’s insistence, who put her foot down during State dinners four years earlier.
Squirrels might be cute (if sometimes annoying) rodents, but for Dwight David Eisenhower, it went far beyond mild annoyance after they destroyed his beloved putting green.
He told his valet,
“The next time you see one of those squirrels go near my putting green, take a gun and shoot it!”
In an act of grace, his staff caught and released the critters instead—which still put the president under fire from animal activists.
This old rule, recently repealed, wasn’t at the insistence of the President handed down by staffers, who banned cameras in 1975 because they feared the flashes could potentially damage some of the artwork on display.
Stopping to take a picture also slowed down lines.
While you still aren’t allowed to live stream for security reasons, cameras are no longer banned.
Rutherford B. Hayes, known for withdrawing federal troops from Southern states and ending Reconstruction, brought Temperance to the White House.
His wife, “Lemonade Lucy,” as she later became known, was a vocal member of the prohibition movement.
Notably, Eleanor Roosevelt then reinstated the ban on hard liquor, much to the disappointment of whisky lovers everywhere.
2. Concerts on the South Lawn
This photo shows the Marine Corps band circa 1900. pic.twitter.com/rZVKgszIQW
— HISTORY (@HISTORY) November 14, 2015
It used to be a tradition to host the U.S. Marine Corps band on the South Lawn every Sunday.
Visitors would pack onto the lawn to hear the weekly concerts.
In 1862, though, the concert series went on hold. Abraham Lincoln’s 11-year-old son had just died, and his wife banned the concerts that summer.
The next year, they moved to Lafayette Square, and in 1864 the concerts were back at the White House. By the 1930s, though, the tradition ended for good.
There are more security concerns today than there may have been back then, but although there are no more weekly concerts, the occasional one is still allowed.
Foo Fighters played a 4th of July celebration from the South Lawn in 2009, and President Trump hosted the Marine Corps band for at least one rally.
1. An aide to the Vice President
Top Pence aide banned from the White House by Trump https://t.co/DKr6EJJWAq
— Ayhan Mehter 🇹🇷 (@ayhmeh) January 7, 2021
Last but not least in the honorable list of things presidents have banned from the White House, comes Marc Short, a top aide to Vice President Mike Pence.
I’m guessing Kamala Harris fixed this one right away.
Well, there you have it – I was definitely shocked by some of these.
That said, I guess you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do, and some people are always going to ruin those broccoli salad lunches for the rest of us.