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Comedians in the White House: Our Favorite Jokes by Presidents

Published: August 13, 2018

“Thanks, folks. I’m here all this term.”

The president of the United State is supposed to represent the people of the country. And since we Americans have a sense of humor that is strong as it is broad, it’s not surprising that presidents can occasionally crack up their audiences.

Here are a few chuckles from our Chief Executives.

John Adams

on the legislature

“In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.”

Abraham Lincoln

of a political foe

“He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I ever met.”

Theodore Roosevelt

on corruption in Congress

“When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer ‘present’ or ‘not guilty.'”

Calvin Coolidge

to a woman sitting next to President Coolidge at a dinner party told him she’d bet a friend she could get at least three words of conversation out of him.

“You lose.”

Franklin Roosevelt

on being informed by an aide that Eleanor Roosevelt (who was conducting a fact-finding tour of a penitentiary) was “in prison.”

“I’m not surprised, but for what?”

John F. Kennedy

“I was almost late here today, but I had a very good taxi driver who brought me through the traffic jam. I was going to give him a very large tip and tell him to vote Democratic and then I remember some advice Senator Green had given me, so I gave him no tip at all and told him to vote Republican.”

Lyndon B. Johnson

addressing a Marine who said, “Mr. President, this is your helicopter over here.”

“They’re all mine, son.”

Jimmy Carter

on a late resurgence of his popularity

“My esteem in this country has gone up substantially. It is very nice now when people wave at me they use all their fingers.”

Ronald Reagan

on other politicians

“I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency — even if I’m in a Cabinet meeting.”

Bill Clinton

describing the White House

“Being president is like running a cemetery: you’ve got a lot of people under you and nobody’s listening.”

George W. Bush

“No matter how tough it gets, however, I have no intention of becoming a lame-duck president. Unless, of course, Cheney accidentally shoots me in the leg.”

Barack Obama

on his name

”Many of you know that I got my name, Barack, from my father. What you may not know is Barack is actually Swahili for ‘That One.’ And I got my middle name from somebody who obviously didn’t think I’d ever run for president.”

Donald Trump

on wife Melania Trump’s Republican National Convention speech

“The media is even more biased this year than ever before — ever. You want the proof? Michelle Obama gives a speech and everyone loves it — it’s fantastic. They think she’s absolutely great. My wife, Melania, gives the exact same speech, and people get on her case.”

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  • Dale Readling Sr.

    This is suppose to be about Presidential jokes. But I see there are comments from some who are jokes themselves. So sad !

  • Jennifer Bortel

    Hi Martha,

    Dr. Cory SerVaas wrote many articles for the magazine, but unfortunately, most of those are not online. However, if you’re interested in newer medical articles, you might want to read Dr. Zipes’ “Your Weekly Checkup” column, which you can find at http://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/author/dzipes.

  • Martha Canfield

    I used to read medical articles written by Dr Cory Curvaz many years ago. Is it possible to access some of those articles at this time? (Sorry for the misspelling of her name.)

  • bruce howard

    It will take much longer to untangle this country from the Trump disaster than it took us to get there. I don’t think many voters thought a man-child with a seven year old’s brain would ever make the white house. Yes – we need to rewrite the “powers of the president” statutes. Trump, the perpetual lying machine is far too scary to write-off with a humorous quote.

  • don

    trump is a joke unto himself! He is more at idiocy than funny but, his quote shows you that some grey matter is missing!

  • Jeanne

    To Ray Cox comment re Leftists having no “humort”; guess u meant humor. You don’t have to be left or right to recognize dishonesty and a lack of integrity. Wake up man.

  • Russel Smith

    Ahhh! So Trum is for real. The joke is on me

  • RAY COX

    Good article. It’s unfortunate Left Looneys have no time for humot.

  • Lawrence A Dickerson

    In response to Caroll Stewart:

    Every word that comes from President Trump’s mouth is a joke. He doesn’t have an original thought in his head and his way of being in charge is to bully people into cowering before him and his minions, all three of them, who still think highly of such a low person. Can you imagine being his English teacher and having to grade his essays?

  • Jim Gray

    I’ve always appreciated Reagan’s comment about Mondale. (paraphased) “I regret that the press has chosen to use my advanced age to point out my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”

  • carroll stewart

    Why would you put the statement that Trump made in with “humor” from other presidents? I don’t believe that his statement was meant to be funny…he was defending his wife! Like Trump or not…that’s what spouses do.

  • Steve O.

    One of my favorite stories is of Coolidge. He was brand new, and had selected his cabinet. They were invited to breakfast with the President at the White House. All were dressed in formal suits. The breakfast room was quiet as they awaited the President.
    Coolidge walked in and sat down. He picked up his coffee cup, so the Cabinet did the same. He poured some of his coffee into the saucer, added cream to it and stirred it. He blew on it to cool it. So did the Cabinet. He picked up his saucer and brought it toward his mouth. Ditto the cabinet.
    Then he put the saucer down on the floor for his cat, picked up his coffee cup, took a drink and said, “Good morning,” to a roomful of stuffed shirts all holding coffee that had been “saucered and blowed.”
    And people say Coolidge had no sense of humor.

  • Jeanne

    All very funny except Trump. He thought he could cover up an audacious breach of ethics by joking about it. Not funny.

  • Avis Breding

    Thank you, it is nice to know that they can still have a sense of humor during their times of being presidents. I thought the jokes were all good and have to agree they all get applause.

  • Jeff, another wonderful feature (naturally) we have from you here; an unexpected delight! While I have to give all the Presidential quotes here applause, John Adams, Theodore Roosevelt and Jimmy Carter must get the most.

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