- When he’s having working lunches or dinners at the White House, President Donald Trump often wields salt and pepper shakers almost twice the size as everyone else’s.
- This could be another one of his power moves, alongside his fierce handshakes and bulky suits.
- Photos show former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama using the same size shakers as their White House guests, while Trump’s usually tower over others’.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
President Donald Trump displays his power with firm handshakes, a second scoop of ice cream, and towering salt and pepper shakers.
CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller pointed out how much bigger Trump’s shakers were in a tweet on Thursday.
Insider combed the photo archives and found that Trump more often than not gets much larger salt and pepper shakers than other foreign leaders or American politicians when dining at the White House. And we couldn’t find instances of Trump’s most recent predecessors using larger shakers than their guests.
These photos show how much bigger Trump’s White House salt and pepper shakers usually are than everyone else’s, and how it compares to former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.
To set the scene, we’ll start with former President Bill Clinton. It appears he and former Vice President Al Gore ate lunch with typical-sized, nondescript salt and pepper shakers.
Condiment equality continued with former President George W. Bush. In 2005, he seasoned his food with the same size salt and pepper shakers as his Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.
When former Vice President Joe Biden joined former President Barack Obama for lunch in the private dining room of the White House, the shakers were equal.
But Obama was well-known for his regimented eating, so maybe bigger salt shakers weren’t a priority.
Source: Business Insider
In the one photo we could find of Obama dining in the Cabinet Room, he had the same size shakers as his guests. Obama and Clinton usually had coffee or tea in that room, not full meals.
White House meals changed forever when Trump became president. He dined with the Emir of Kuwait in the Cabinet Room in September 2017. While they reportedly shared a laugh at the expense of the media, they didn’t share shakers. Trump’s were far larger.
Source: Washington Post
Note the positioning here. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s little shakers float all alone, while Trumps’ sizable shakers are positioned right behind his title.
In early 2018, Trump’s shakers were again larger than everyone else’s when he dined with the United Nations Security Council at the White House.
The trend continued in March 2018. Even former Secretary of Energy Rick Perry got the small shakers.
Source: NBC News
Let’s get a closer look.
We did find a few instances where Trump had the same size shakers as others. Interestingly, this was in the Cabinet Room, the same room where the shakers have come in different sizes.
In December 2017, everyone had normal sized shakers in the Roosevelt Room.
And again, in the Roosevelt Room, in June 2018.
But there were more examples of the president’s larger shakers. In April, Trump met with Baltic leaders at the White House, and he made it clear who was boss.
Trump continued his salt and pepper tradition when he met again with the UN Security Council in late 2019.
Trump’s pepper shaker alone dwarfs both of US Representative to the UN Kelly Craft’s.
There’s one other strange dynamic to this salt and pepper controversy. Note how everyone’s salt and peppers sit close together, while Trump’s shakers (which are the same size as everyone else’s here) are positioned far apart.
Look at that width.
People might question, how much seasoning does a president need? And why are the shakers so eye-catching? Are they intertwined?
One answer is that it could be another Trump power move. Instead of a handshake, now he displays his power with a mighty shake of the salt, or a spray of black pepper.
Or maybe he just feels at ease having a pinch more salt and pepper at the ready.
The White House didn’t respond to Insider’s request for comment on the larger salt and pepper shakers, so the world may never know.