Chilean president commandeers Obama’s Oval Office desk

Chile President PineraPresident Obama certainly doesn’t seem to have control over much these days, including his desk in the Oval Office.

During his visit to the White House last week, Chilean President Sebastian Piñera decided to take over the president’s desk – while the American commander-in-chief was in the room.

“I’m going to sit at the President of the United States’ desk,” Piñera said, almost daring anyone to challenge his breach of protocol.

But Obama and the rest of the room stood back as Piñera calmly walked around to Obama’s desk, sat in the chair and calmly rested his arms on the Resolute desk, which has been used by a majority of presidents including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The Chilean president nonchalantly paused for a moment as cameras went off, smiling at the room and looking every bit as presidential behind the Oval Office desk as Obama stood back with the rest of the room laughing and looking not so amused.

Later the Chilean Minister of Foreign Affairs Alfredo Moreno Charme asked Obama if any other non-American presidents had sat behind the Resolute desk.

“This is the only one,” Obama replied back.

It’s very possible that Obama is correct in his belief about other presidents sitting behind the desk. Former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino responded via Twitter to a question about whether she ever sat behind her boss’s desk.

“The Five” co-host even refused to sit in the replica chair at the newly opened George W. Bush Presidential Center, believing that even the mock seat is off-limits to those who aren’t the American commander-in-chief.

Apparently Piñera is known in his native Chile for his shenanigans; the president’s antics are called “Piñeri-cosas.”  Piñera even tried to justify his decision to commandeer the desk, claiming that because his daughter was born in the United States and he attended Harvard University that he deserved to sit at the Resolute Desk.

“Obviously, we’ve got strong relationships throughout the hemisphere, but the relationship between the United States and Chile is as strong and as important as any of the relationships that we have,” Obama said in a press release after his visit with Piñera.

Obama went on to praise the Chilean economy under Piñera’s leadership, emphasizing the strong bond between the two presidents.

“President Piñera’s outstanding leadership has continued and enhanced this process, and he and I have had an excellent relationship in a number of multilateral settings,” Obama said.

Update: the video has since been removed by the user from YouTube. 

Comments

Nancy Grace battles Dr. Drew on pot

Oh, Nancy. Just weeks after gracing the internet with her marijuana debate with 2 Chainz, she's served up another delightful bit of TV: her appalled reaction to discovering that fellow HLN star Dr. Drew is on the 2 Chainz side of this argument.

Stewart: 'Drones love Obama'
Jon Stewart couldn’t stop laughing about the drone found at the White House early Monday morning. A small drone crashed on the White House lawn around 3 a.m. and after several hours in lockdown, Secret Service determined that it did not pose a threat. “Of course it didn’t pose a threat. Drones love Obama. He’s like a one […]
Jonathan Gruber raps to MIT students

If you’ve been dying to see Jonathan Gruber, who credited the “stupidity of the American voter” with passing Obamacare, strip down to his undershirt and rap about economics, today is your lucky day!

Stewart mocks the Iowa Freedom Summit

Jon Stewart’s coverage of the Iowa Freedom Summit is about what you would expect—starting with his description the event: “A lot of Republicans who will never be president met this weekend,” for the “Fox News correspondent auditions.”

McCain takes on 'Sniper' bashers

Sen. John McCain is the latest person in a position of prominence to defend "American Sniper" from bashers, singling out the "obsessive critics of U.S. foreign policy" in an official statement.

White House

White House: Scrapped 529 plan will still be in budget because it has already been sent to the printers
That awkward moment when even the President of the United States can’t get a print shop to make a small change for him… Just one day after the White House announced that it had caved to political pressure and would not be taxing the 529 college savings plan,  officials also had to admit that this […]
VP Biden appears on ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ to get ask young people to sign up for Obamacare
With three weeks to go until the Obamacare deadline to purchase insurance, the Obama administration is pulling out all the stops to encourage young people to sign up.  The renewed push included a stop by Vice President Joe Biden on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” Monday so he could appeal to moms who are good at […]
Small drone crashes at White House complex, origin unclear
WASHINGTON (AP) — A small drone flying at low altitude crashed into the White House complex before dawn Monday, the Secret Service said. President Barack Obama was not at home and the White House said it did not pose a security threat. The crash prompted an immediate lockdown of the White House grounds until officials […]
WH chief of staff blurts out previously-concealed name of American hostage on live TV

All in a day's work at the White House: sometimes you keep ISIS hostage names a secret, sometimes you let them slip in an in interview on national TV.

7 Times Obama was ‘Partisan,’ Not ‘Practical’ during his State of the Union address
Near the beginning of his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Obama promised to be “practical, not partisan” in his proposals to Congress. However, his speech ended up being anything but. From cracking jokes to outright veto threats, it was clear that the president had no interest in bipartisanship. So we decided to […]

Congress

Cruz bill would punish IRS targeting with jailtime

Ted Cruz wants IRS employees guilty of targeting to be the ones forking over their money, this time -- and that's at the very least.

CNN interviews Rand Paul on Snapchat

CNN made digital history this week, conducting the first-ever full interview with a lawmaker over Snapchat by snapping with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

Boehner and McConnell critique SOTU

“Dead. Real dead.” That was House Speaker John Boehner’s verdict on President Obama’s tax proposals--and nearly every proposal from his State of the Union address, with the exception of cybersecurity, fighting ISIS, trade, and possibly the childcare tax credit.

Senate surpasses its 2014 vote total in a week
Is this what the Senate looks like without Harry Reid in charge? The new Republican-led Senate has already voted on more amendments in just one week than the Democratic-controlled Senate voted on in all of 2014. “We’ve actually reached a milestone here that I think is noteworthy for the Senate. We just cast our 15th roll-call vote […]
Whistleblowers denounce DOJ juvenile program

According to whistleblower reports, a Justice Department (DOJ) juvenile delinquency program provided grants to states jailing foster children and runaways over minor offenses like skipping school.