Did you know about these forbidden things at the White House?
Oh, the White House, one of the most famous buildings in the entire globe, has some weird rules that, at first glance, may seem strange to the normal world. However, all of them were adopted for a reason. Because all the authority comes with a huge responsibility, there are things that presidents wanted to ban forever inside the building. How did they get on the forbidden list of things and other curiosities? You will find out in this article.
And next time you’ll have the privilege to visit this building, you may want to leave all these things at home; otherwise, you’ll probably upset somebody or, worse, get kicked out…
If you thought about having a fancy drink with the President, I am here to disappoint you because, at the White House, alcohol is fully prohibited. But why this rule, you may ask? Well, back in the day, when Rutherford Hayes was President, he was totally against any form of alcohol under the roof where he was living. However, even though he was the head behind the prohibition, his wife Lucy was blamed for these actions.
This wasn’t the first or last time a First Lady wanted to ban alcohol at the White House. In 1934, Eleanor Roosevelt decided that while she was the hostess of the building, nobody would drink hard liquor, and the only exception was wine. At least that was allowed to drink!
When the White House first announced that it would be welcoming any American citizen who wanted to visit, there was a list of prohibited items that included knives, firearms, fireworks, and… ta da balloons. But how can someone throw a party without confetti and balloons?
Well, there was something wrong at a party the previous year, and some security agents were scared about some broken balloons because they thought it was a gun. That’s some bad luck, indeed!
Another forbidden thing at the White House is, of course, smoking. While you may think this is just common sense, for many people, this is something unusual. Long before President Bill Clinton, this wasn’t seen as a bad thing. Most of the officials were smokers, and because of that, none of them was bothered by smoking, even when others were having dinner. However, in 1993 Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary wanted to ban smoking completely, so the general rule was: off with the ashtrays!
This became a real thing because, four years after this so-called experiment, Bill Clinton issued an executive order prohibiting smoking in all government buildings, including during meals. Even today, smoking is illegal at the White House.
After all, they must keep the air clear and smoke-free in a place where some of the most important decisions are made.
4. Leave your jeans at home!
This might seem unusual, right? The White House maintains a decades-old dress code to create a sleek and professional image, especially when conducting official business or receiving foreign dignitaries. That’s why, back in 2001, when George W. Bush was the president of the country, jeans, and casual clothes were completely banned from the White House.
The funny thing is that many people believed he detested jeans until they witnessed him meeting Vladimir Putin in 2001 while wearing, um, a pair of jeans. I guess it’s okay for the one who made the rule to break it because this wasn’t the last time President Bush was seen wearing blue jeans.
Four years later, when the famous U2 singer Bono went to visit the president at the White House, Bush was also seen wearing jeans and some fancy sunglasses. I’d say that’s the proper way to meet and greet a rock star!
If you’re in for a nice history lesson, we recommend you check out this book about former presidents of the USA! Some facts might not be new to you, but others, I am sure, will blow your mind. Who knows what other interesting things about the White House you may be able to discover? That’s up to you.
5. Personal phones
Phone-free zone in the West Wing of the White House? The answer is a strong yes. Guests and workers were not permitted to use smartphones in the right wing of the White House when Trump was the president of the United States, according to the chief of staff’s directive. Amazing, huh? Particularly for people who are addicted to their phones. But I suppose laws are designed to be obeyed.
Only government-issued phones, which do not support texting, were allowed to be used by the employees. This rule was implemented because they were attempting to reduce the number of devices linked to the primary wireless network as a security measure. However, many people vehemently disagree, believing that the real purpose was to leak material to the media.
In the end, it doesn’t matter what the primary reason for this restriction was because the staff members were quite dissatisfied that they couldn’t call their families while at work.
6. Professional cameras
Did you know that the White House had a 40-year total prohibition on cameras? Cameras were not permitted during White House visits until Michelle Obama declared the ban’s lifting in 2015. Beginning in the 1970s, visitors were not permitted to take pictures because the flash might damage the artwork and because tourists would disperse from their organized groups when they focused more on their photographs than the tour.
However, even if you’re now allowed to snap pictures with both your camera and your smartphone, you’re still prohibited from using the flash.
7. Off with the… broccoli!
A lot of kids have said they would prohibit broccoli and eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if they were president of the nation for a day, but only one of them had the good fortune to live up to their promise. Lucky him!
Because he didn’t like broccoli, former President George H.W. Bush famously forbade it in the White House and on Air Force One.
At the time, this created quite a rumor, and people flocked to the White House with dishes and tons of broccoli that they donated to food pantries. But I suppose that just proves that everyone has likes and dislikes, including the president of the United States.
We honestly bet that there were a lot of other dishes that were banned from the White House over the years, but we’re not aware of which ones might be.
The White House’s putting green was erected by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1955, but the squirrels quickly destroyed his tidy lawn. Quite a mess indeed! He instructed the valets to shoot another squirrel they observed racing across the grass with a rifle when they saw it. Of course, none of them consented to this and instead, they let the squirrels leave without harming them.
If you’d like to know more interesting facts about politics or unusual things that happen only in the USA, don’t be shy and hit that subscribe button so you can get everything right in your inbox. You won’t regret the decision for sure!
Meanwhile, you may also want to check out: 9 Facts About The Pentagon Every American Should Know.