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12 ordinary things that are forbidden to do the president of the United States

On February 15, the United States will celebrate Presidents Day. Everyone knows what presidents are doing in the service, but not everyone knows what an American leader should not do. Here are a few things that we are used to in everyday life that are forbidden to any current president of the United States.

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Speak by phone or video chat with friends

"The secret service is doing everything possible to plan, coordinate and ensure all the activities of the president, writes Reader's Digest... For example, you can only talk to a friend over the phone or video chat over a secure line, ”explains Matt Pinsker, professor of homeland security at Virginia Commonwealth University. Yes, the leader of the country cannot just take his cell phone and chat: he will have to notify the secret service.

To go to the cinema

“This is usually not an option,” Pinsker continues. "The film should be brought to the White House." Any American, of course, doesn't mind a home theater session, but from time to time it's nice to indulge in watching a movie on the big screen, and even with a huge bucket of creamy popcorn at hand.

Eat in restaurants and cafes

“You can dine in the establishments, but first you need to notify the secret service so that it can ensure security in the restaurant,” Pinsker said. There is evidence that the president will not touch food outside the White House unless an official "taster" tries it first to make sure the food is safe.


“The President is being transported in a highly protected vehicle driven by a person who has undergone extensive special training in case of emergencies,” Pinsker said. However, Dr. Jim Ronan, professor of political science at Villanova University, notes that in some places the president can walk and ride a bicycle, such as at Camp David or on personal property.

“One of the biggest constraints that former presidents have cited is losing the ability to drive,” Ronan notes. "As a result, Reagan and George W. Bush enjoyed riding their ranches: the Secret Service allowed them to drive around protected property."

Attend events with the participation of their children

“Another flaw that former presidents cite is the impact of the service on their loved ones,” says Ronan. "For example, attending a children's concert or a sports game would require such extensive preparation that it is out of the question." Imagine that you have children and you cannot watch them perform and develop their talents! The heirs of some presidents studied right in the White House, again for security reasons.

Use gadgets without monitoring

As technology continues to advance, the Secret Service must be aware of all threats. “Recent restrictions have been on personal technology, particularly President Obama's Blackberry and President Trump's Twitter account,” Ronan said. "They were both advised to stop or at least severely restrict their use after taking office." Recently it became known that the president cannot block people on social networks, as this is contrary to the First Amendment.

By the way, even the commander in chief can not choose which smartphone to use, writes Ranker... Obama is the first president to have a smartphone. He admitted in 2013 that he was unable to use the popular iPhone due to security concerns. Instead, he made sure to use a heavily modified version of the Blackberry.

Fly Commercial Airlines

If the president had a strong desire to fly an American Airlines flight, the secret service would say, "Sorry, no." Cybersecurity instructor Dr. Carla Mastracchio notes that this is one of the "normal things" that the president has absolutely no right to do. Plus, when you have an Air Force 1, why do you need to deal with the hassle of commercial airlines?

Open windows

Yes, the President of the United States cannot open his windows on a beautiful spring day. Former first lady Michelle Obama, while awaiting the end of her husband's term, told Stephen Colbert: "I want to do such a little thing as ... open a window." For security reasons, you cannot open windows in the White House or in a car. Except for one exception: "Once, for pleasure, my lead agent let me open the windows on the way to Camp David for about five minutes, while adding, 'Enjoy."

It is precisely such manifestations of freedom that we, ordinary people, often take for granted ...

Clean up in your office

Dr. Mastracchio notes that the president is not advised to clean up the office and throw away mail. “Under the Presidential Records Act, they are tasked with sticking to things that the average person doesn't,” she says. This includes emails. They must be carefully sorted out by other White House staff.

Go anywhere without "football"

Football is a shorthand name given to the briefcase that the secret service carries with it wherever the president travels. While its exact content is unknown, it gives the president the opportunity to verify his identity and contact the National Military Command Center in the event of an emergency. The suitcase also provides a menu of options in the event of a nuclear conflict. Presidents must carry a laminated code card at all times to activate soccer, and a Secret Service agent must carry a 45 pound (20 kg) bag in close proximity to the president wherever he goes.

Accept expensive gifts

There are strict rules prohibiting presidents from accepting expensive gifts from world leaders and other dignitaries. The 2016 Act states that gifts worth more than 375 dollars must be transferred to the National Archives. Anything that has less value is appropriate and is considered a “souvenir or a sign of politeness.” This can lead to some curious situations: for example, George W. Bush had to buy an expensive Bulgarian shepherd dog named Balkans, which he received as a gift from the Bulgarian president to have a good house for the dog. By purchasing an animal at face value, he gave it to a friend in Maryland.

Stay alone in public

As former agent Jonathan Wakrow said in an interview with NBC, "Protecting the Secret Service is the most intrusive thing anyone can experience." The president cannot even play basketball, as Obama tried to do at the beginning of his work - without prior notice four hours in advance. If the president is not in a secure environment in the White House, he simply cannot be alone.

“Just imagine that you are sitting in your house tonight, and four strangers appear and silently stand in the kitchen,” Wakrow explained.

Technically, the president can do anything

“An important final point is one that is often overlooked, although the secret service can advise the president and in some cases strongly discourage his initiatives, it is ultimately accountable to the US leader,” Ronan said. "Therefore, if the president wants to do something related to security issues, the final decision will remain with him, and the secret service will make every effort to adapt to the circumstances."

However, Devin Schindler, dean and professor of constitutional law at Western Michigan University, notes that “Federal law gives the secret service the power to protect the president and his immediate family. Essentially, the law prohibits the president from refusing recommendations to the secret service. In practical terms, over the years, a number of rules have been developed to protect the president from potential danger. "

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