The way you celebrate New Year’s Eve can reveal a lot. Extroverts revel in partying and song. Homebodies are still at home when the ball falls and the cork pops. When it comes to presidents, their December 31 habits often reflect their personalities and those of their presidency.
George W. Bush is a prime example. When asked by reporters in late 2004 about his New Year’s plans, Mr. Bush replied sarcastically: “Early to bed.” His father spent New Year’s Eve 1989 visiting wounded American soldiers who had liberated Panama from the dictatorship of Manuel Noriega.
Richard Nixon spent New Year’s Eve 1972 – shortly after his landslide re-election – alone in the White House mansion. Ronald Reagan will celebrate at Walter and Leonore Annenberg’s flashy annual party in Rancho Mirage, California.
At the end of 1976, the lame duck Gerald Ford attended a party at which reporter Richard Growald gave him a poster of “Skiing Poland” that was changed to “Poland without Skiing.” . The gag alludes to Ford’s argument: “There was no Soviet domination of Poland.” According to journalist Tom DeFrank, Ford, always a good sport, “laughed loudly” at the joke.
Bill Clinton tried with Monica Lewinsky on New Year’s Eve 1995, recounted in the Starr report. John F. Kennedy spent the week after Christmas 1962 in Palm Beach, Fla. While the president relaxed by the pool, Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield tried to talk to him about Vietnam but found Kennedy distracted by a Mexican beauty he flirted with selling sunglasses. . The President and his wife attended a champagne party on his last New Year’s Eve.
Jimmy Carter spent New Year’s Eve 1977 in Tehran. He toasted Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and called Iran “an island of stability”. Just a year later, the Shah fled after a coup. On New Year’s Eve 1979, Iran took dozens of US hostages, who would not be released until after Mr. Carter left office in 1981. Lyndon Johnson said at a press conference May 31. December 1967 that the US effort in Vietnam was “The most careful, unrestricted war in history.”
Hollywood-loving Barack Obama will host a family-friendly talent show on New Year’s Eve, modeled after shows like “American Idol” and “The X Factor.” Donald Trump welcomed the new year by tweeting. In 2017, he wrote: “As our country rapidly grows stronger and smarter, I wish all my friends, supporters, enemies, haters and even even the very dishonest Fake News Media, a Happy and Healthy New Year.”
This will be Joe Biden’s first New Year’s Eve as president. Last year, the 78-year-old president-elect appeared with his wife in the quintessential elderly show, “Dick Clark’s New Year Rockin’s Eve.”
Troy is a senior fellow at the Center for Bipartisan Policy and the most recent author of “Fighters: Confrontations in the White House from Truman to Trump.”
Copyright © 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8
Appears December 31, 2021, print edition.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-president-ring-in-the-new-year-biden-trump-kennedy-carter-ford-reagan-character-11640891409 What does the president call in the new year