No one has ever accused President Obama of knowing much about American history. He demonstrated his ignorance again during a pre-Super Bowl interview with Savannah Guthrie. Sharing a brew with Guthrie, Obama told her, “We make beer. First president since George Washington to make some booze in the White House.”
George Washington never occupied the White House. John Adams was the first president to do so.
Obama’s ignorance extends beyond the history of White House occupancy. He also, I think, misunderstands George Washington. Even if our first president had lived in the White House, it’s hard to imagine him setting up a brewery there at the public’s expense.
As president, Washington lived in a pre-existing mansion in Philadelphia. He is said to have insisted on paying rent.
The costs of Obama’s White House brewery are, of course, “small beer,” especially compared to the $50 million or so Obama has spent on travel. This reportedly includes more than $7 million in flight expenses for his family vacations to Hawaii and Martha’s Vineyard, and a trip to California to appear on the Jay Leno show.
The imperial presidency, which George Washington famously eschewed, has reached its apotheosis with Barack Obama.