President Nixon Meets Elvis Presley – 12/21/1970

US History |

President Richard M. welcomes the rock star legend Elvis Presley at the White House on this day in 1970. Presley's visit was not only a social meeting, but also an avenue to meet the president and offer his services in the administration's war against drug abuse.

Presley, who decided to separate himself from the perceived notion of drug use and the counterculture that is believe to be the bedrock of rock-and-roll had three weeks earlier met with the vice president Spiro Agnew, in Palm Springs, California and suggested that he can use his VIP status to help promote the government's war against drugs. On December 20, Presley travelled to Washington, and checked into a hotel registering under a false name. The following day, with two of his bodyguards, Presley continued to the White House, where he gave the guard at the gate a handwritten letter. In the letter, Presley told Nixon he did not relate or agree with the "Drug Culture", student protestors and "Black Panthers," that claimed they hated America. He pronounced that he desired nothing than to "play his part in helping the country out" and requested that he be made a federal agent at large.

On getting to the White House gates, he was instantly recognized by the guard on duty who then requested for permission before he was given access into the White House. It was reported that He evidently was not searched before entering, and upon meeting President Nixon, he gave the president a gift–a World War II-period Colt .45 gun. After that, they were both photographed shaking hands, Nixon in a suit and tie and Elvis wearing tight purple velvet pants and a buttoned down shirt with jeweled chains, a purple velvet cape threw over his shoulders and a big belt buckle. Nixon and "The King" greeted each other and agreed "that drug users are in the vanguard of American protest." Presley again emphasized his desire to do whatever he could to inspire young people and musicians alike to reject drugs and anti-Americanism. As the brief meeting was about to end, Presley shocked Nixon when he hugged him.

On December 31, Nixon wrote a thank-you card to Presley for the gift of the gun and for visiting him at the White House. However, the president did not mention anything about making use of Presley's help in the war against drugs. In addition, according to a memo dated December 21, (the morning Presley visited the White House) it was obvious that Nixon administration was uncertain about the thought at the time. In an official White House statement made by Nixon's assistant Dwight Chapin he said that Elvis not be "pushed off on the VP," but rather be introduced directly to Nixon. 

He added that if Nixon needed to meet "brilliant young people outside the Government, Presley may be the one to begin with." In which aide H.R. Haldeman responded: "you must be joking." Unfortunately, Nixon never offered Elvis an official position in his administration fight against drug abuse.

In 1977, Presley died of heart failure reported to have been the result of undetermined causes. However, it was later rumored that the main cause of the rock star's death was caused by overdose of some prescribed drugs and obesity.

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Jennifer Yuza


Jennifer received her degree in script writing from Chapman University. Jennifer came to work for us part-time as she was looking to really pursue her dream in film. After several months of working for us, she found that the positive feedback she was getting from our readers was pushing her to write for us full-time.