Trump's salt and pepper shakers tower over everyone else's. Obama, Bush, and Clinton used the same size shakers as their guests.

insider@insider.com (James Pasley)
President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attend working lunch. Note the salt and pepper discrepancy.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

  • When he's having working lunches or dinners at the White House, President Donald Trump often wields salt and pepper shakers almost twice the size of everyone else's.
  • This could be another one of his power moves, alongside his fierce handshakes and bulky suits.
  • Photos show Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama using the same size shakers as their White House guests, while Trump's usually tower over others.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump displays his power with firm handshakes, a second scoop of ice cream, and towering salt and pepper shakers.

Mark Knoller, CBS News' White House correspondent, pointed out how much bigger Trump's shakers were in a tweet on Thursday.

Insider combed the photo archives and found that Trump more often than not gets much larger salt and pepper shakers than other foreign leaders or American politicians when dining at the White House. And we couldn't find instances of Trump's most recent predecessors using larger shakers than those of their guests.

The large shakers might just be because he enjoys salty foods like KFC chicken, Big Macs, and bacon and eggs. But it could also be another power move, alongside his fierce handshakes and bulky suits.

These photos show how much bigger Trump's White House salt and pepper shakers usually are than everyone else's, and how they compare to those of Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

To set the scene, we'll start with Clinton. It appears he and Vice President Al Gore ate lunch with typical, nondescript salt and pepper shakers.

Pres. Bill Clinton answering reporter's query while having lunch w. VP Al Gore (L) at WH.

Dirck Halstead/The LIFE Images Collection / GettyCondiment equality continued with Bush. In 2005, he seasoned his food with the same size salt and pepper shakers as Condoleezza Rice, his secretary of state.

President Bush is joined for lunch Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2005, by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, right, and Karen Hughes, newly appointed Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.

Eric Draper / The White House / APWhen Vice President Joe Biden joined Obama for lunch in the private dining room of the White House, the shakers were equal.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden talk during a photo-op as they meet for lunch in the Private Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014.

Carolyn Kaster / APBut Obama was known for his regimented eating, so maybe bigger salt shakers weren't a priority.

Former President Barack Obama (L) and former Vice President Joe Biden talk before lunch in the private dining room at the White House January 8, 2014 in Washington, DC.

Brendan Smialoski / AFP / Getty

Source: Business Insider

In the one photo we could find of Obama dining in the Cabinet Room — where he and Clinton would usually have coffee or tea, not full meals — he had the same size shakers as his guests.

President Barack Obama and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak approach the table at the start of a working lunch in the Cabinet Room of the White House, August 18, 2009.

Pete Souza / White HouseWhite House meals changed when Trump became president. When he dined with the emir of Kuwait in the Cabinet Room in September 2017, they reportedly shared a laugh at the expense of the media, but they didn't share shakers — Trump's were far larger.

Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah (front L) and others wait while US President Donald Trump and US Vice President Mike Pence speak before a luncheon in the Cabinet Room of the White House on September 7, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty

Source: Washington Post

Note the positioning here. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's little shakers float all alone, while Trump's sizable shakers are positioned right behind his title card.

President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attend working lunch. Note the salt and pepper discrepancy.

Carolyn Kaster / APTrump's shakers were again larger than everyone else's when he dined with the United Nations Security Council at the White House in early 2018.

President Donald J. Trump speaks during a lunch with the United Nations Security Council on January 29, 2018 at The White House in Washington, DC.

Chris Kleponis-Pool/GettyThe trend continued in March 2018. Even Secretary of Energy Rick Perry got the small shakers.

President Donald Trump speaks during a working lunch with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, in Washington.

Evan Vucci / APLet's get a closer look.

President Donald Trump speaks during a working lunch with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, in Washington.

Evan Vucci / APWe did find a few instances where Trump had the same size shakers as others. Interestingly, this was in the Cabinet Room, the same room where the shakers have tended to be different sizes.

President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence and Cabinet members, participates in an expanded working luncheon with the Emir of Qatar Tamin bin Hamad Al Thani Tuesday, July 9, 2019, in the Cabinet Room of the White House.

Shealah Craighead / White HouseEveryone had normal-sized shakers in the Roosevelt Room at a lunch in December 2017 ...

President Donald Trump speaks during a lunch meeting with Republican members of the Senate, including US Senator Joni Ernst (L), Republican of Iowa, US Senator Jeff Flake (2nd R), Republican of Arizona and US Senator Deb Fischer (R), Republican of Nebraska, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, December 5, 2017.

Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty... and again in the Roosevelt Room in June 2018.

President Donald Trump attends a working lunch with U.S. governors at the White House June 21, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Win McNamee / GettyBut there were more examples of the president's larger shakers. In April, Trump met with Baltic leaders at the White House, and he made it clear who was boss.

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Tuesday, April 3, 2018, in Washington.

Evan Vucci / APTrump continued his shaker tradition when he met again with the UN Security Council in late 2019.

US President Donald Trump takes part in a luncheon with the UN Security Council permanent representatives in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on December 5, 2019.

Mandel Ngan / AFP / GettyTrump's pepper shaker alone dwarfs both shakers for Kelly Craft, the US's ambassador to the UN.

US President Donald Trump listens as US Representative to the UN Kelly Craft speaks during a luncheon with the UN Security Council permanent representatives in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on December 5, 2019.

Mandel Ngan / AFP / GettyThere's one other strange dynamic to this shaker controversy. Note how in this photo everyone's salt and pepper shakers sit close together, while Trump's shakers (which are the same size as everyone else's here) are far apart.

US President Donald Trump (R-center) speaks during a working lunch with governors on workforce freedom and mobility in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC on June 13, 2019.

Mandel Ngan / AFP / GettyLook at that width.

President Donald Trump speaks during a working lunch with governors on “workforce freedom and mobility” at the Cabinet Room of the White House June 13, 2019 in Washington, DC.

Alex Wong/GettyPeople might wonder: How much seasoning does a president need? And why are the shakers so eye-catching? Are they intertwined?

President Donald Trump speaks during a working lunch with governors on workforce freedom and mobility in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC on June 13, 2019.

Mandel Ngan / AFP / GettyOne answer is that it could be another Trump power move — instead of a handshake, now he displays his power with a mighty shake of salt or a spray of black pepper.

trump macron handshake

Carlos Barria/AP

Source: Esquire

Or maybe he just feels at ease having a pinch more salt and pepper at the ready.

President Donald Trump gestures while speaking to reporters in the Rose Garden following a lunch meetering with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) at the White House October 16, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Chip Somodevilla / GettyThe White House didn't respond to Insider's request for comment on the larger salt and pepper shakers, so the world may never know.

Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah (front L) and others wait while US President Donald Trump and US Vice President Mike Pence speak before a luncheon in the Cabinet Room of the White House on September 7, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty

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