Part two of my blog on cigars and politics takes a look at cigar usage in modern times and how it changed in the White House in the later years. Starting with fourth U.S. President James Madison’s term until approximately the mid-twentieth century, cigars had its own special place in the White House. For those who smoked, enjoying cigars was a way to alleviate stress, something to do while discussing important legislation or a relaxing after-dinner ritual to bond with dinner guests. For example, President Eisenhower enjoyed retiring to the Green Room with his male dinner guests for cigars and dinner drinks after White House state and private dinners.
President John F. Kennedy also enjoyed smoking his cigars in the White House—Cuban H. Upmann petite cigars to be exact. Cigar smoking was an enjoyable ritual for him that started when he began smoking cigars as a young man with his father Joseph P. Kennedy. So you can be sure that before he signed the Cuba Trade Embargo 50 years ago that he was not going to be left without a hefty supply of his favorite cigars. The legendary story goes that he told his Press Secretary Pierre Salinger to round up as many Cuban cigars he could find in 24 hours and Salinger did not disappoint. He presented 1200 of President Kennedy’s favorite Upmann petite cigars within the deadline and the Embargo was signed the next day.
When Gerald Ford was in office he enjoyed smoking from a pipe and his term marked the end of presidents who smoked regularly in the White House. But it was actually during Richard Nixon’s time in office when cigars were no longer offered to men after dinner in the Green Room. Nixon himself was not a regular smoker but enjoyed smoking a cigar with other leaders and dignitaries out of ritual and respect. Then by the time President Ronald Reagan was in office, the White House no longer offered cigars or any tobacco products at state dinners and by the time President Clinton was in office, smoking was completely banned in the White House and First Lady Hilary Clinton had the staff remove all ashtrays.
But not to fret, cigar smoking is still cool and promoted by other political figures including Rudolf Giuliani, mayor of New York and former presidential candidate, who is known to have a sophisticated palate for cigars and prefers full-bodied smokes from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Also former California Governor Arnold Schwazrenegger is a big cigar lover and enjoys smoking Cohiba and Punch but also enjoys Romeo y Julietas and Hoyo de Monterrey. Then last but not least, there is President Bill Clinton. While he may not admit to actually smoking a cigar, he can still be seen on occasion with one in his mouth and given his popularity these days –that is endorsement enough!
When it’s time to replenish your own stash of favorite stogies, be sure to shop at a reputable online tobacco shop like BnB. They offer a wide selection of premium cigars, pipe tobacco and accessories all at discount prices and delivered right to your home.
Until next time…