No One Talks About These Everyday Things the U.S. President Isn’t Allowed to Do

Being the president comes with a fair amount of perks — living in the White House, a personal chef, a chauffeur … the list goes on. But there are also quite a few things the president isn’t allowed to do. From not being able to use a normal phone to not being able to drive a car, here’s a list of normal, everyday things that the president isn’t allowed to do.

1. Using a normal phone

President Trump Calls Prime Minister Of Ireland From Oval Office

He has his secure iPhone and his office phone. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

It’s no secret that President Trump loves to tweet, but, apparently, he’s not doing it on your average iPhone. For a while, he took to the Twitter skies via an old, unsecure Android. He’s since switched over to a much more secure iPhone. White House director of social media Dan Scavino Jr. made it official by tweeting that when you see the iPhone icon on Trump’s tweets, it is indeed him.

Obama wasn’t so lucky. “Obama – the first president to carry a smartphone – admitted in 2013 that he was not able to use the popular iPhone due to unspecified security concerns,” says Ranker. He ended up with a heavily modified (for security reasons) Blackberry.    

2. Open the White House windows

white house

It doesn’t matter if the room is a little stuffy, there’s no opening the windows. | Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

Presidents are often told it’s the little things they’ll miss while living in the White House. We’re not sure if President Trump has ever opened a window or whether he misses the responsibility of letting in a light breeze or not, but the fact of the matter is, he couldn’t if he wanted to.

As Michelle Obama related to Stephen Colbert in 2015, the Secret Service requires that all the windows stay closed,” reports Ranker. “This also applies to windows in all official transportation.”

3. Accept lavish gifts

Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi in the Oval Office of the White House.

In the past, some Arab kings would bring lavish gifts which could be construed as inappropriate. | Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images

In 1996 the Foreign Gifts and Declarations Act came into effect in order to “ensure there was no impression of impropriety.”

According to The Atlantic, “The Foreign Gifts and Declarations Act of 1966 was prompted in part by the expensive gifts some Arab kings would bring on their visits, like luxury cars and fine horses.”

As of 2014, the value limit for presidential gifts is $375.

4. Drive a car

Trump in a semi-truck on the White House lawn, March 2017

Thankfully, he’s still allowed to drive his golf carts on his many outings. | Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

For the most part, the Secret Service’s preference would be to drive the former presidents at all times,” Mickey Nelson, who retired in 2012 as the Secret Service assistant director of protective operations after 29 years in the service, told The Sydney Morning Herald. There are loopholes, however. Presidents can drive on the property, and they can drive golf carts off the property.  

5. Go out alone

Obama plays basketball

No more last minute pickup games. | Mark Wilson/Getty Images

“Secret Service protection is the most intrusive thing that anyone could ever experience. Presidents can’t even arrange a pickup basketball game – as Obama attempted early in his administration – without four hours’ notice,” said former agent Jonathan Wackrow in an interview with NBC. “Unless a president is safely ensconced in the fortress-like conditions of the White House, they simply can’t be alone. Just think about you at your home tonight and four strangers just show up and they’re standing in your kitchen.”

6. Eat outside of the White House without an official food taster

US President Barack Obama

He can’t eat without his taster. | Tim Sloan/Getty Images

There’s been some speculation through the years whether sitting presidents really do employ food tasters or not. But, according to Ranker, a White House spokesman and one senator have mentioned the role to the press.

This rule has led to some awkward presidential meals in the past. In 2013, President Obama couldn’t eat at a lunch meeting with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill because his taster wasn’t present. Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins said the president wasn’t able to eat at the event, but that he “looked longingly at [the meal].”  

7. Leave the White House without the “football”

Briefcase with nuclear codees

The briefcase is thought to hold the nuclear codes. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The football is a 45-pound briefcase that contains what exactly we’re not sure, but we know it’s crucial in case of an emergency. “It also provides a ‘menu’ of options in case of a nuclear conflict,” says Ranker.

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