The Oval Office isn't just a seat of power, it's a place where the president works through lunch, the same way that most people do at work. But unlike cubicles and open-plan workspaces, the Oval Office desk is equipped with a red button. No, it's not the trigger for nuclear weapons, it's supposed to summon an aide, but it's been customized by each sitting president. The Huffington Post reports that during his time at the White House, President Obama actually used it to get tea.
Richard Branson explains in his autobiography that during a visit with Obama, he saw the button in action. Before it was a call button for comforting beverages, HuffPo notes that President Johnson used the button as an alert for when his wife was heading into the Oval Office and currently, President Trump uses it to summon Coca-Cola.
"As we stood up to leave I noticed the red buttons on his desk. Obama saw me looking at them," Branson wrote in his autobiography, Finding My Virginity. "He said, 'They used to be there for emergencies, but now I use them for ordering tea for my guests.'"
Obama famously skipped out on coffee during his time as leader of the free world, opting for tea instead, something almost every coffee drinker says they'll do, but never actually follows through with. The former president even told Vox that he took his morning briefings with tea, unlike most people, who can't seem to function without the black stuff first thing in the morning.
Those red buttons may look threatening — and in action movies, they certainly are — but depending on who's sitting at that famous desk, those little red buttons are actually pretty innocent.
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