President Joe Biden signs executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House (Picture: Reuters)
The president of the United States of America seemingly has enough pens at his disposal to rival Argos – but why?
Joe Biden is settling into his new home at the White House and has wasted no time in righting the wrongs of Donald Trump’s reign since his inauguration – including getting rid of his predecessor’s Diet Coke button.
Biden spent his first day in office signing 17 executive orders which include battling coronavirus, climate change, immigration and racism – including the controversial Muslim ban.
The world’s media has been fixated on the 78-year-old’s every move and he invited cameras into his Oval Office on Wednesday for the signing of his executive orders.
Eagle-eyed viewers will have spotted a selection of pens in a box on his desk which Biden used to sign the documents – but why didn’t he just stick to one pen?
Why does the president use so many pens?
A selection of pens are used to allow the president to use them as gifts for people (Picture: Reuters)
Using different pens for different official documents isn’t an uncommon thing in the White House.
Former presidents have often used a variety of pens as it has become tradition to gift the pen used to sign executive orders to people who have been key to its existence.
In 2010, former White House staff secretary Lisa Brown gave some clarity on the tradition, in a video.
‘The practice is that the president uses a number of pens and then gives the pens to people who worked particularly hard on a bill, who sponsored the bill, who really fought to get it done, or to whom the bill means a great deal,’ she said.
Although it’s not clear how far back the tradition goes Ms Brown revealed Lyndon B Johnson and John F Kennedy both signed executive orders with multiple pens, but it could date as far back as the 1930s when 32nd president Franklin D Roosevelt was in office.
Barack Obama famously used 22 pens to sign his Obamacare act as he felt there were so many people who helped him achieve the order.
He ended up using multiple pens for each letter of his name, and joked at the time: ‘I’ve got to use every pen, so it’s going to take a really long time. I didn’t practice.’
Does the president use a special type of pen?
Donald Trump is a fan of the Sharpie (Picture: AP)
According to pens.com, presidential pens are actually a thing.
They state manufacturer A. T. Cross is a long standing supplier with the likes of Barack Obama and George W. Bush being fans of their ‘metal construction, deep black lacquer, and real gold-plated tip.’
They don’t come cheap though – their priciest pen sells for $110 (£80).
Trump was more in favour of using a Sharpie to sign off his executive orders though.
Business Insider claim Trump was so unimpressed with the previous pens he reached out to Sharpie to request a pen that was ‘black’ and ‘rich’.
Sharpie reportedly responded by making him a pen that also included his personalised signature on the pen.
They’re all certainly an upgrade on Argos pens, then.
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