When Donald and Melania Trump arrived at the White House last Friday morning for the traditional Inauguration Day greeting (opens in new tab), Trump stepped out of his Secret Service SUV and made his way up the stairs; Melania followed, carrying a gift in a box from Tiffany & Co. that has been the source of much speculation (opens in new tab).
But it wasn't the box that caught my eye—it was the way he left his wife behind him as he made his way up the steps. The Independent (opens in new tab) pointed out how our new president's actions differed from his predecessor's on the same day in 2009, and I delved further into the presidential inauguration archives to see how George W. Bush and Bill Clinton approached the moment before their inaugurations (video of earlier presidents' White House Inauguration Day arrivals was not readily available online).
Forget politics for a second and consider this from an etiquette perspective: These videos show that the three presidents before Donald Trump waited for their partners to walk up the stairs to the White House moments before they inherited the highest office in the land. Trump marched ahead, alone, his wife left to follow behind him.
Take a look:
Donald Trump's Inauguration Day
Full video (walking up the steps begins immediately):
A Twitter user pointed out that Trump walked ahead of Melania—and President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama—into the White House:
I have to say two things: A) 1000 words B) These photos make me sad. pic.twitter.com/LH1gjlyoqmJanuary 23, 2017
Barack Obama's Inauguration Day
Full video (walking up the steps begins around the 1:07 second mark):
George W. Bush's Inauguration Day
Full video (walking up the steps begins around the :11 second mark):
Bill Clinton's Inauguration Day
Full video (walking up the steps begins around the :56 second mark):
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Sam Dangremond is a Contributing Digital Editor at Town & Country, where he covers men's style, cocktails, travel, and the social scene.
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