For almost 225 years, it was pretty clear as to what one did when meeting or dealing with the president of the United States. You were to address him as “Mr. President” and then engage in a civilized and respectful exchange.
But now that Donald J. Trump is president, things are a bit different when it comes to White House protocol and it’s not always obvious what rules of conduct apply. Thanks, however, to the recently-leaked efforts of an anonymous Administration staff member, we now have some clear etiquette guidelines we can follow:
1) When addressing the president, as a bare minimum, it is acceptable to call him “Mr. President.” It is preferable, however, to enhance that greeting by referring to him as “The Greatest President”, “The Ultimate President” or “Dear Supreme Leader.” (N.B. – Under no circumstances should one refer to the president by a nickname.)
2) Do not speak unless spoken to. If the president wants to hear from you, he will let you know, usually with a rhetorical question such as: “We’re doing a terrific job in Puerto Rico, isn’t that right?”
3) It is not necessary to bow to the president upon meeting him. After all, we are not yet a monarchy or an autocracy. But, let’s just say, it wouldn’t hurt. (On the other hand, do not take a knee.)
4) Acceptable topics of conversation: the president’s gigantic inaugural crowd, his tremendous popular vote victory and his latest record-breaking golf score.
5) Unacceptable topics of conversation: the continued existence of Obamacare, the non-existence of a border wall and any approval ratings reported by the fake news.
6) As for acceptable White House attire, the president is fine with informal clothing so long as the individual is wearing or holding at least one of the following items: an American flag lapel, a “Reelect Trump Pence in 2020” placard or a red MAGA ball cap.
7) If you are lucky enough to dine with the president, please abide by his dining etiquette rules. The steak knife is to the right, the meatloaf fork is to the left and the ice cream spoon is above the plate. The ketchup is to remain next to the president at all times.
8) When it comes to Twitter, you are encouraged to follow the president but do not, at any time, reply to his tweets. It is sufficient to “like” any of his tweets and you may even “retweet” if so inclined. Any criticisms or negative comments will be met with a presidential tweetstorm.
9) When it comes to White House decorum, there is one basic overriding general rule: Just remember that any meeting or interaction with the president is all about him. And, oh yeah, don’t call him a moron.