The President’s Finger on the Button: Disaster, Dessert, or POTUS Pranks?


Button on President's desk
Hollywood has immortalized the image of the fate of the world resting on a shiny red button on the desk of the President of the United States. With a single press of that button, life as we know it would come to a brutal, inglorious end. It makes for good fiction, but that just isn’t the way it works. When the President pushes a button, it is generally for something far more mundane. 

Sometimes a button gets pushed by accident, such as the time President Jimmy Carter thought he was flushing the toilet, only to summon a bunch of armed and anxious Secret Service agents, who responded to the panic button.

President Donald Trump has a shiny, red button on his desk, and he is fond of pressing it. That button, rather than unleashing a nuclear holocaust, summons a White House waiter, along with the President’s favorite beverage: a Diet Coke. President Barack Obama had a similar button, but it resulted in a Pepsi being delivered.

President Calvin Coolidge had, perhaps, the most fun of any of the POTUS club when it came to buttons. Although history remembers him for being rather taciturn, his staff got to see a lighter side of him when he would press the panic button in the Oval Office and hide under his desk while armed guards searched frantically for the most powerful man in the world, unaware that he was delighting in Presidential Peek-a-boo.

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