The Odd Story Behind Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon Meeting at the White House
On December 21, 1970, Elvis Presley was invited to the White House to meet with then-President Richard Nixon. The meeting produced a now-famous photo of the pair shaking hands, which begs the question, what were they actually talking about? Turns out, Elvis wanted something from President Nixon. Elvis was known for collecting guns and police badges and he wanted one highly coveted badge to complete his collection: a federal narcotics badge.
His ex-wife Priscilla Presley wrote in her memoir that Elvis believed that he could legally enter any country with drugs and guns if he just had that badge. So, he decided to ask the President for it. He wrote a letter to President Nixon on his flight to Washington D.C.
He wrote, “Sir, I can and will be of any service that I can to help the country out. I would love to meet you. I will be here for as long as it takes to get the credentials of a federal agent.” He added that he would be staying at the Washington Hotel nearby under the alias Jon Burrows. First, Elvis met with the deputy director of the offices of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs but was denied the badge.
The letter to President Nixon was first delivered to his aide Egil “Bud” Krogh, who was a huge Elvis fan and orchestrated the meeting. Elvis was invited to the White House and showed up with a gun as a gift, which of course, was taken away by the Secret Service before he was allowed to meet President Nixon. This is when that famous photo was taken and Nixon allowed Elvis to get the badge after they chatted for a while.
Krogh said about the photo, “It’s a jolt seeing them together. Here is the leader of the Western world and the king of rock ‘n’ roll in the same place, and they’re clearly enjoying each other. And you think, ‘How can this be?'” The meeting inspired the Netflix adult animated series Agent Elvis, in which Elvis is a spy for a secret government program. Have you watched it? Let us know your thoughts about his famous meetup and the new series!