This week a young child wrote to former President George Bush (the elder) to proclaim his love of broccoli. The president’s reply:
Proud of young Cooper’s interest in healthy eating. His declared love of broccoli is genuine, if also unpersuasive. pic.twitter.com/r5wHKvigDb
— George Bush (@GeorgeHWBush) June 25, 2016
Pretty good handwriting for a 5-year-old. The letter reads:
Dear President Bush,
My name is Cooper [redacted] and I just turned 5 years old.
Last night, when we ate we had meat, sweet potatoes and broccoli! My grama told me that you do not like broccoli and never want it served. I just want you to know that I love Broccoli! I ate all of my broccoli and then ate my twin brother’s broccoli. Chase does not like broccoli either.
Mr. President, broccoli is really good for you. I wish you liked broccoli like I do.
Bush’s droll tweet in reply:
Proud of young Cooper’s interest in healthy eating. His declared love of broccoli is genuine, if also unpersuasive.
You’ve got to appreciate the President sticking to his guns. If you were born after the first George Bush administration (or have simply forgotten), the whole broccoli story began in 1990, when reporters discovered that the President had banned the vegetable on Air Force One and asked him about it.
”I do not like broccoli,” the President said, responding to queries about a broccoli ban he has imposed aboard Air Force One, first reported this week in U.S. News and World Report. ”And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States, and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli!”
Things took off from there, as you can imagine. (Even in the days before Twitter!) Today’s White House may be all about healthy eating, but the George Bush White House, not so much. That NY Times broccoli report noted:
The sort of food the President loves can be procured at baseball games, fast-food joints or 7-Elevens: beef jerky, nachos, tacos, guacamole, chile, refried beans, hamburgers, hot dogs, barbecued ribs, candy, popcorn, ice cream and cake.
And then followed it up with this remarkable description of the President’s eating habits:
The 65-year-old President… has always had a whopping appetite. He eats with a shoveling motion, bent over his plate, sometimes sticking his napkin into his shirt like a bib so he won’t soil his shirt and tie.
”Like a big teen-age boy, unembarrassed by hunger,” his former speechwriter Peggy Noonan wrote after watching Mr. Bush devour a plate of nachos in the White House mess.
Kinder, gentler times!