• 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.

The large shakers might just be because he enjoys salty food like KFC, Big Macs, and bacon and eggs. But it could also be another power move, alongside his fierce handshakes and bulky suits.

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.

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Foto: Pres. Bill Clinton answering reporter’s query while having lunch w. VP Al Gore (L) at WH.sourceDirck Halstead/The LIFE Images Collection / Getty

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.

Foto: President Bush is joined for lunch Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2005, by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, right, and Karen Hughes, newly appointed Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.sourceEric Draper / The White House / AP

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.

Foto: President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden talk during a photo-op as they meet for lunch in the Private Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014.sourceCarolyn Kaster / AP

But Obama was well-known for his regimented eating, so maybe bigger salt shakers weren’t a priority.

Foto: Former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden talk before lunch in the private dining room at the White House January 8, 2014 in Washington, DC.sourceBrendan Smialoski / AFP / Getty

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.

Foto: President Barack Obama and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak approach the table at the start of a working lunch in the Cabinet Room of the White House, August 18, 2009.sourcePete Souza / White House

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.

Foto: Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah (front L) and others wait while US President Donald Trump and US Vice President Mike Pence speak before a luncheon in the Cabinet Room of the White House on September 7, 2017 in Washington, DC.sourceBrendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty

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.

Foto: President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attend working lunch. Note the salt and pepper discrepancy.sourceCarolyn Kaster / AP

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.

Foto: President Donald J. Trump speaks during a lunch with the United Nations Security Council on January 29, 2018 at The White House in Washington, DC.sourceChris Kleponis-Pool/Getty

The trend continued in March 2018. Even former Secretary of Energy Rick Perry got the small shakers.

Foto: President Donald Trump speaks during a working lunch with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, in Washington.sourceEven Vucci / AP

Source: NBC News


Let’s get a closer look.

Foto: President Donald Trump speaks during a working lunch with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, in Washington.sourceEven Vucci / AP

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.

Foto: President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence and Cabinet members, participates in an expanded working luncheon with the Emir of Qatar Tamin bin Hamad Al Thani Tuesday, July 9, 2019, in the Cabinet Room of the White House.sourceShealah Craighead / White House

In December 2017, everyone had normal sized shakers in the Roosevelt Room.

Foto: President Donald Trump speaks during a lunch meeting with Republican members of the Senate in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on December 5, 2017.sourceSaul Loeb / AFP / Getty

And again, in the Roosevelt Room, in June 2018.

Foto: President Donald Trump attends a working lunch with U.S. governors at the White House June 21, 2018 in the Roosevelt Room, in Washington, DC.sourceWin McNamee / Getty

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.

Foto: President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Tuesday, April 3, 2018, in Washington.sourceEvan Vucci / AP

Trump continued his salt and pepper tradition when he met again with the UN Security Council in late 2019.

Foto: US President Donald Trump takes part in a luncheon with the UN Security Council permanent representatives in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on December 5, 2019.sourceMandel Ngan / AFP / Getty

Trump’s pepper shaker alone dwarfs both of US Representative to the UN Kelly Craft’s.

Foto: US President Donald Trump listens as US Representative to the UN Kelly Craft speaks during a luncheon with the UN Security Council permanent representatives in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on December 5, 2019.sourceMandel Ngan / AFP / Getty

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.

Foto: US President Donald Trump (R-center) speaks during a working lunch with governors on workforce freedom and mobility in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC on June 13, 2019.sourceMandel Ngan / AFP / Getty

Look at that width.

Foto: President Donald Trump speaks during a working lunch with governors on “workforce freedom and mobility” at the Cabinet Room of the White House June 13, 2019 in Washington, DC.sourceAlex Wong/Getty

People might question, how much seasoning does a president need? And why are the shakers so eye-catching? Are they intertwined?

Foto: President Donald Trump speaks during a working lunch with governors on workforce freedom and mobility in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC on June 13, 2019.sourceMandel Ngan / AFP / Getty

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.

Foto: President Trump’s handshake with French President Emmanuel Macron.sourceCarlos Barria/AP

Source: Esquire


Or maybe he just feels at ease having a pinch more salt and pepper at the ready.

Foto: President Donald Trump gestures while speaking to reporters in the Rose Garden following a lunch meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) at the White House October 16, 2017 in Washington, DC.sourceChip Somodevilla / Getty

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.

Foto: Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah (front L) and others wait while US President Donald Trump and US Vice President Mike Pence speak before a luncheon in the Cabinet Room of the White House on September 7, 2017 in Washington, DC.sourceBrendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty