President of the United States

Stephen Colbert agrees with President Trump on one thing

“You know the old saying, ‘Elections have consequences?'” Stephen Colbert asked Tuesday’s Late Show audience. “Right now we are knee-deep in a steaming pile of consequence.”

The host then compared The Washington Post’s report that Trump bragged about getting “great intel” in a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to a boastful fast food worker.

“Well, yeah, you’re the president,” Colbert quipped. “It’s the job. It’s like the guy working the fry station saying, ‘You would not believe the tater tots I have access to,’ if in this metaphor tater tots were a top-secret snack…

Real or Rumor: The Hotel del Coronado

The following article is from the book Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges into California.

(Image credit: Dirk Hansen)

Built in 1888, the Hotel del Coronado (or Hotel Del) near San Diego has been the site of ghost hauntings, movie filmings, celebrity getaways, and all kinds of other legendary stuff. Let’s separate the facts from the fiction.

RUMOR: In December 1904, the Hotel del Coronado lit the first electric outdoor Christmas tree in the United States.

TRUTH: The hotel itself makes this claim, but it’s unlikely. Electric lights on trees probably came sometime in the late 1800s. However, in 1904 the hotel did wire 250 lights to its 50-foot tree. It may have been the first in Southern California and was certainly done at a time when few people lit outdoor trees at all and indoor ones were still fire hazards with candles. The tree remained on display for a three hours each night from Christmas Eve through New Year’s.

RUMOR: Every U.S. president since Lyndon B. Johnson has stayed at the Hotel Del.

TRUTH: This is true. The hotel has been the temporary home to 15 presidents, including the eight since Johnson. Seven presidents before Johnson also stayed at the Hotel Del: Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy. [Ed. note: this was written before the election of 2016.]

RUMOR: At a 1920 Hotel Del banquet in his honor, the 26-year-old Prince Edward of Wales met 24-year-old Wallis Spencer, a U.S. Navy captain’s wife who was destined to (scandalously!) become Edward’s Duchess of Windsor.

TRUTH: Years later, the couple did have an unsanctioned relationship (he had a thing for married women, and she was about to be twice-divorced). He briefly became King Edward VIII, but abdicated his throne to marry her, and…

Animatronic Lyndon Baines Johnson

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Animatronic LBJ tells stories and makes jokes
Animatronic President Johnson is surrounded by caricatures LBJ Presidential Library/Public Domain (Public Domain)
Animatronic President Lyndon Baines Johnson LBJ Presidential Library/Public Domain (Public Domain)

President Lyndon Baines Johnson was known for his stories and his sense of humor. At the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum in Austin, Texas, an animatronic version of the 36th U.S. president continues his legacy, spinning tales and reciting jokes for adoring visitors.

A view of the 'Skin and Bones' collection. (Museum of Natural and Artificial Ephemerata)
Austin, Texas

This talking, gesturing robotic President Johnson is a highlight of…

Seth Meyers Uses Trump’s Words Against Him In Fiery Takedown

President Donald Trump may be proud of the fact that he’s signed 30 executive orders in his first 100 days in office, but Seth Meyers isn’t having any of it.

The “Late Night” host presented multiple examples of Trump previously criticizing President Barack Obama for signing executive orders during his two terms as president.

Trump has signed more…

Does the U.S. President’s Dog Get Its Own Secret Service Agents?

Ryan asks: If the president has a pet dog, do their bodyguards also watch over his dog like they do his family?

Even before the U.S. president is elected such, if they’re considered a “major candidate” for the job, they get offered Secret Service protection. Whether they accept that protection or not, once elected until the day they die (unless they opt out after leaving office), they will be shadowed by an elite team of Secret Service agents. These individuals, while not actually sworn to do so (contrary to popular belief), are generally expected to, if necessary, give their lives to keep the president safe. While in office, this protection extends to a president’s immediate family. But does this ever include their family pet? Technically no.

According to former Secret Service agent Dan Emmett, as noted in his book Within Arm’s Length, the agents tasked with protecting the First Family are under no obligation to protect any pets said family may own. In fact, he noted that even beyond not directly having any obligation to protect the animals, “Walking the dog or cat is not and will never be a part of an agent’s job description.”

Emmett put this little tidbit in a section of his book specifically dispelling myths about the Secret Service. This is a section that humourously enough also includes this gem of a supposedly widely held myth:

Myth: All women are attracted to Secret Service agents.

Emmett goes on to explain that the truth is actually that only “Many women are attracted to Secret Service agents…” (Presumably to ones called Dan Emmett most of all.) On top of this, he states that the life of a Secret Service agent includes a

never-ending string of temptations sometimes literally thrust into one’s face by women who are impressed by such things as men who protect the president. It can be almost frightening at times when seated in a bar, and a woman recognizes and agent she has just seen on television with the president. On more than one occasion, my shift mates and I had phone numbers and hotel room keys shoved into our hands or thrown to us while working a rope line with the president…. For the single agent, it was paradise; for many married agents, it was a constant struggle between good and evil, which was sometimes won and other times lost.

Back to literal dogs (as opposed to the cheating kind)- although the Secret Service isn’t obligated by any means to walk or take care of the president’s pet dog or cat (Emmett tersely claims that White House custodial staff do this), it doesn’t mean they don’t necessarily do it.

For example, Bo and Sunny, the pet Portuguese Water Dogs of the Obama’s, were often pictured being taken for a walk by some member of Obama’s protective detail. Given there were presumably other staff available for the task when necessary, we can only assume they did this because of scenarios like that the president was in the midst of doing so himself when called away for a moment (so they had to take over temporarily), and perhaps because they liked to walk the dogs, so weren’t quick to call other White House staff in. After all, it stands to reason that Secret Service agents who spend a lot of time around the president would occasionally grow fond of the president’s pets, assuming they liked the type of animal, and thus wouldn’t mind the occasional pet detail.

Said agents have also been known to do such things as a favor to the president. For instance, the Secret Service agents…