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President Donald J. Trump has a button on his desk in the Oval Office that he can push any time he wants a Coca-Cola, the Associated Press reported this week as part of a long story on Trump's first 100 days in-office. Eagle-eyed New York Times national-security editor Amy Fiscus caught this nugget deep in the story -- which covered other details about Trump's progress in his young presidency, his divisiveness as both a candidate and world leader, and mentions of how FBI and congressional investigations have affected his term and perceptions of his legitimacy.
Past all that, AP reporter Julie Pace wrote the paragraph below based on observations from her interview with the President. It quickly caused an uproar after Fiscus called it out on Twitter.
The Resolute Desk is of course the desk that the President of the United States sits at in the Oval Office while he conducts affairs of state. Its the one you recognize from all the photo ops and was originally a gift from Queen Victoria, who gave it to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880. It's been used by every president since then. Mr. Trump has modified it to include a button that brings him Coca-Cola, served by a butler.
Stephen Colbert, of course, couldn't resist the opportunity to fire off more zingers at the same president who reportedly eats steak with ketchup, sends side orders of fries back "three or four times," and thinks the taco bowls at the Trump Tower Grill are "the best in the world."
"Thank God, I was worried there," Colbert quipped -- poking fun at all the more-dire things a red button in the President's office could do. "He's just turning the Oval Office into an eight year old's drawing of a dream treehouse."
For his part, President Trump has never been shy about his obsession with Coca-Cola. Here's one missive he tweeted to his followers in 2012:
It's worth pointing out that this may or may not be a free Coke. The First Family does not have to pay for rent in the White House, but that doesn't mean that it's entirely a free ride. As former First Lady Laura Bush wrote in her book Spoken from the Heart, "The presidential room, as it were, is covered, but not the board." It could very well be that Trump pays for the Coke service out of his own pocket -- or it could not; the AP story doesn't clarify this point. President Trump -- who often criticized former President Barack Obama for expenses associated with presidential travel -- has himself cost American taxpayers between an estimated $1 million and $3 million a pop for each trip he takes to his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida.
This begs the question: How much money do American taxpayers spend funding Trump's Coca-Cola habit? Is it zero? Is it thousands of dollars for a massive wholesale supply? We just don't know.
To find out, Thrillist reached out to White House for comment. We'll update this story as soon as we get a reply.
Update, 6:15 pm: Trump actually drinks Diet Coke, not regular Coke, per years of reports and photo documentation. This thread from Ben Dreyfuss at Mother Jones is instructive reading. Trump has also previously implied on Twitter that people who prefer Diet Coke over regular Coke are fat. Here's a sampling of old tweets and statements from the future President of the United States of America that reference Diet Coke:
So this whole Coke vs. Diet Coke thing has thrown folks for a loop. Seasoned New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman -- one of the country's most dogged Trump-focused journalists -- was baffled.
It seems based on the information available that this is probably a Diet Coke button. Not a Coke button.
For what it's worth, apparently this practice isn't that unique among presidents. President Lyndon B. Johnson had one that ordered him Fresca, according to his presidential library:
Of course, none of this answers the central question of who pays for all this Coke -- Diet or otherwise -- in the White House. This comes during the same week that Coca-Cola cut 1,200 American jobs. Thrillist patiently awaits a response from the White House. An itemized receipt will clear things up.
h/t The Associated Press, Grub Street
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