President Joe Biden has already made several changes to the Oval Office since taking over from President Donald Trump, but one specific one surprised Twitter. Biden appears to have gotten rid of a red button Trump used to order White House staffers to bring him a Diet Coke. The on-demand Diet Coke button was revealed in a June 2019 TIME interview with Trump.
TIME journalist Tom Newton Dunn shared a new photo of Biden behind the Resolute Desk as he signed his first Executive Orders. The photo shows Biden does not have a giant block next to his phones, as Trump previously did. The block just had just a single red button. "President Biden has removed the Diet Coke button. When [Tim Shipman] and I interviewed Donald Trump in 2019, we became fascinated by what the little red button did," Newton Dunn wrote. "Eventually Trump pressed it, and a butler swiftly brought in a Diet Coke on a silver platter. It's gone now."
However, another Twitter user noted that President Barack Obama was also photographed with a wooden block with one red button in the Oval Office. Another photo shows Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush with a similar one-button block. It's possible the red button is simply a way for presidents to quickly call staff in the White House.
President Biden has removed the Diet Coke button. When @ShippersUnbound and I interviewed Donald Trump in 2019, we became fascinated by what the little red button did. Eventually Trump pressed it, and a butler swiftly brought in a Diet Coke on a silver platter. It's gone now. pic.twitter.com/rFzhPaHYjk— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) January 21, 2021
Some members of Trump's White House staff thought the red button meant much more. In his book on the 2016 presidential campaign, Cliff Sims, a member of Trump's communications team until 2018, wrote that he wondered what would happen if Trump pressed the red button. "If Trump noticed someone glancing at the box — and sometimes completely unprompted — he would pick it up and move it farther away from himself," Sims wrote, reports PEOPLE. According to Sims, Trump once said, "Don’t worry about that. No one wants me to push that button, so we’ll just keep it over here. Now, what were you saying?"prevnext
Between both Bushes. pic.twitter.com/xJoRhUctsN— jospf (@cncnntus) January 21, 2021
Some staffers laughed nervously until Trump suddenly pressed the red button. "Not sure what to do, guests would look at one another with raised eyebrows," Sims wrote. "Moments later, a steward would enter the room carrying a glass filled with Diet Coke on a silver platter, and Trump would burst out laughing."prevnext
I would've paid so much money to get to be in the room for the conversation that I imagine went like:
BIDEN: ok what's next
STAFFER: setting up the Oval. Photos are all done. Do you want to keep the Diet Coke button?
BIDEN: the what in god's name button https://t.co/cDhkmqzjr5— Emmy Bengtson (@EmmyA2) January 21, 2021
Sims claimed most visitors laughed at the joke about the red button, but he thought it revealed much more about Trump's personality. “The prank offered a subtle sense of self-awareness, there were people who thought Trump was volatile enough to start a nuclear war," Sims wrote.prevnext
Biden should've kept this but instead of summoning a Diet Coke the button would call a random Trump family member and make a sad trombone sound https://t.co/HONMR24PQN— shauna (@goldengateblond) January 21, 2021