The Secret Service Code Names of Presidents
Being a president or a member of the First Family comes with various perks – you get to travel for free, stay in the best hotels for free, attend the most-closed and relevant events, and you even have a personal chef. And yes, during their time in the White House, the president and his family don’t have to think about cooking and cleaning things.
There is also one thing that members of First Family must use that sounds fantastic only in their world, and that’s – personalized Secret Service code names. You know that line from movies – “The Eagle has landed?” Well, one president was really named Eagle. Read on to see which President of the States choose this code name and what are the unique stories behind these unusual nicknames.
25. Richard Nixon: Searchlight
Presidential code’s names are given or can be chosen. Sometimes, the White House Communications Agency chooses them, and sometimes the president gets to chose them. In this case, no one knows for sure how Nixon got to have his code name, Searchlight.
One thing is for sure, Nixon’s code name got more attention than those of other presidents. During the Watergate Scandal, a massive search was conducted and his code name just seemed ironic. Searching a searchlight. His wife, Pat, was given the name Starlight.
24. Jimmy Carter: Deacon
Jimmy Carter is the longest-living president, therefore he is the longest-retired president. On top of that, he is so far the first former president ever to reach the age of 95. Carter is also the only president to have consistently taught Sunday school lessons from his teenage years.
Actually, even after his presidency, Carter continued to teach Sunday School classes at the Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia. Now, his code name, Deacon, doesn’t seem strange, right? Sometimes it’s easy to connect the president’s roots, and interests with his code name and that was the case with Carter’s Baptist roots.
23. Ronald Reagan: Rawhide
Former President Ronald Reagan is a true synonym for Wild Wild West, although he didn’t exactly grow in the Wild West. Reagan actually grows up in Illinois, from where he moved to California to work on his movie career.
Soon after he started his acting career, Reagan becomes a true western star. In a manner of a true star, Reagan made a secret code name for himself – Rawhide. This unusual name comes from his Western film roots, which he referred to on multiple occasions during his campaigns.
22. John F. Kennedy: Lancer
Until today, the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy is one of the most tragic events in modern American history. After this horrible event, the former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis gave a heartbreaking interview to Life Magazine, quoting her fallen husband’s favorite line from the musical Camelot.
From that moment on, the media and the entire country be3gan to compare the Kennedy Administration to the mystical romantic legend of Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table, with Kennedy being King Lancelot.
21. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis: Lace
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is still one of the most influential ladies of the 20th and 21st century, in all of fashion. Her style is loved and replicated many times. Even her code name was in a fashion manner.
Some of Jackie O’s most iconic looks were made of lace, including her wedding dress. Her white and pink lace dress she wore during a presidential visit to Paris is also one of the most memorable moments ever, that supports her secret code name.
20. Harry Truman: General
There was a time when Presidents were followed by Secret Service agents all the time. It was not until the 33rd President of the United States, Harry Truman, took office. With time the practice of Secret Service agents following the president began.
And as the first president to ever receive a Secret Service code name, he was given the moniker “General”. No one is sure how and why Truman was given that name. It’s known that he was in the military, but the exit rank was captain, not general. Maybe his dream was becoming a General?
19. Bernie Sanders: Intrepid
It turns out that you don’t have to be elected president to have a Secret Service code name. Even the presidential candidate gets a secret code name. The presidential candidate is always surrounded by Secret Service protection, just like Senator Bernie Sanders was.
Rumor has it that Sanders denied having Secret Service protection during his run for president. However, a leak reveler that during the 2016 elections, Barni has agents protecting him and that his secret code name was Intrepid. Read on to find out the new code name Trump chose after he won his election.
18. George H.W. Bush: Timberwolf
You may think that once the presidential term is done, Secret Service agents are just signed to a new President, but that’s just not the case. The same agents that are assigned to protect a president usually continue to do so after they leave the office.
For example, former President George H.W. Bush definitely formed an incredibly deep bond with his agents. They were so connected, that Timberwolf at age 89 shaved his head in support of an agent’s 2-year-old son who had been diagnosed with leukemia. George was so loved that the Secret Serice tweeted out one final dispatch when he passes away, saying their time serving him as an “honor.”
17. Barbara Bush: Tranquility
Secret Service agents work hard to keep White House members safe and sound. They do their best to protect the President and the people around, and in most cases, President appreciates their support and hard work. But according to the Secret Service agents who spoke up after First Lady Barbara Bush passed away, she was one of the few that would treat them like family.
“The United States Secret Service code name for Barbara Bush was ‘Tranquility,'” agent Jonathan Wackrow wrote in a CNN op-ed. “They also remember her as a calm and highly humane person, who had only a positive impact on people around her.
16. Joe Biden: Celtic
Vice presidents of the United States are protected during their term, but they don’t receive Secret Service for the rest of their lifetimes unlike former presidents. However, when Joe Bined decided to run for the presidency in 2020, Secret Service returned to his life as well.
With Secret Service agents, the secret code name returned as well. In 2020, CNN reported that Biden chose the code name “Celtic” for this 2020 presidential bid. It’s clear that this name is linked to Joe’s Irish-American roots.
15. Dwight Eisenhower: Providence and Scorecard
Anyone should be happy with one secret name, right? However, Dwight Eisenhower was so blessed that he had two Secret Service code names. He was called first and “Providence” then “Scorecard”, and no one knows why.
Eisenhower wasn’t sure about his nicknames either. When he left office, he changed his official Secret Service code name to “Scorecard”. The reason for this change? Some claim that this change is based on his love for golf during his retirement years.
14. Barack Obama: Renegade
For many recent presidents, Secret Service names are chosen rather than assigned. Does that mean that a president can pick any word in the dictionary? No, Secret Service code names usually begin with a pre-selected letter, that should have at least two syllables.
Simply said, the code name should be easy in a pinch. Obama was given a list of pre-approved names to choose from, all started will the letter R. Eventually, he picked the name “Renegade”.
13. Michelle Obama: Renaissance
Once the president chooses his name, the rest of the family follows. As tradition demands, they have to choose a nickname that begins with the same letter from a pre-determined list.
Sometimes, these lists are different to go more with children. Former First Lady Michelle Obama chose the name “Renaissance”, a name that channels her vision and creativity. Malia was given the name “Radiance” while Sasha was called “Rosebud.” Even Michelle’s mother got her own R-name, “Raindance”.
12. George W. Bush: Tumbler and Trailblazer
George W. Bush was president of the States in two terms and he spent years at the White House as the son of President George H.W. Bush. Because of that, he has had two separate Secret Service code names.
According to Ronald Kessler, the author of In the President’s Secret Service, Tumbler was Bush’s original code associated with his cheerleading background and his drinking. Bush changed it afterward because he didn’t like its connotation with drinking.
11. Mike Pence: Hoosier
There was a time when Mike Pence was the second most powerful man in the entire nation. Before he became Vice President, Mike was the governor of Alabama, and throughout the 2016 campaign, he continually pointed out his Midwest roots and promises to bring a bit of Indiana into the White House.
And Pence’s Secret Service code name shows that he has done just that. At the very beginning of his career, his code name, Hoosier, leaked. The nickname was based on the name given to residents of Indiana. The Second Lady, Karen Pence, was given the name “Hummingbird”.
10. Melania Trump: Muse
Melania Trump is the first First Lady to be a naturalized citizen. She is also the first one not to have English as a first language. Before her, only the was ‘different’ as she was former First Lady Louisa Adams was the first to be born outside of the United States.
The Slovenian-born First Lady had a long and successful career as a model. She started her career in Milan and Paris, and from there she moved to New York City. She was given a list of names starting with the letter, M, and she chooses to be referred to as Muse, as a reminder to her fashion industry roots.
9. Donald Trump: Mogul
Donald and Melania love powerful names. Since Trump ruled the business world for decades, it seems only fitting that he went for the most powerful name – Mogul.
The rest of his family chose similar M names, all of which go well with their hobbies. Donald Trump Jr., an avid outdoorsman, decided to go by “Mountaineer”, while his hunting brother, Eric, chose “Marksman”. Daughter Ivanka Trump reportedly goes by “Marvel”, while her husband Jared Kushner is known as “Mechanic”.
8. Sarah Palin: Denali
Former Vice Presidential Candidate and Governor Sarah Palin once made a memorable line saying that she can see Russia from her house in Alaska, and people won’t ever forget it. While that might not exactly be true, the Secret Service was inspired by something that was in Palin’s backyard.
Palin was given a name fitting her home state and was called “Denali”, after the national park in Alaska. Later on, she even fought Barack’s administration to rename Mount McKinley back to Denali’s original name.
7. Mitt Romney: Javelin
When the Secret Service give the list of names, they aren’t entirely random. In most cases, the name list is tailored to refer to specific things about the candidate’s background or political brand.
This was definitely true for former candidate Mitt Romney, who went by the code name Javelin. Interestingly, Javelin was Romney’s first car, as well. Javelin is also linked to a popular Olympic sport, a nod to Romney’s time as the Salt Lake City Olympic organizing committee’s CEO.
6. Paul Ryan: Bowhunter
Certain secret names are really difficult to explain. Former vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan’s secret service code name, is definitely not one of them. Anyone who knows anything about the former house speaker knows exactly why he chose this code name.
Bowhunting is Ryan’s favorite hobby, so the name is only fitting. According to GQ Magazine, which first broke the news of Ryan’s code name, “The man is a skilled archer, a hunter of deer, and an aficionado of the sport.” He’s even been a cover model for Deer & Deer Hunting Magazine in October 2015.
5. Eleanor Roosevelt: Rover
Former President Harry Truman was the first-ever president to receive a Secret Service code name. However, he wasn’t the only the first member of the First Family to get a secret name. That honor goes to former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
Roosevelt was given her code name, “Rover”, during a 1942 trip to England in the grips of World War II. Eleanor was on official state business at the time, speaking with women involved in the war effort. The agent protected her on this secret trip. He didn’t want to say her name over the radio, so instead, she became “Rover” and the agents were called “Rover’s Rangers”.
4. Bill Clinton: Eagle
“The Eagle has landed.” Probably the most famous line of any action movie with a president in it goes to former president Bill Clinton. It may sound like a cliché line, but it was the code name of president Bill Clinton in reality.
Some experts claim that Clinton was given the code name Eagle for patriotic reasons, while others claim that it has something to do with his background. Clinton had been a former Boys Scout and worked his way up to becoming an Eagle Scout in his youth, an experience that he often mentioned during his campaign.
3. Hillary Clinton: Evergreen
So far, it’s clear that when a president is given a Secret Service code name, other family members get their own names that begin with the same letter. In the case of Hillary Clinton, her name had to start with the letter E, as well as the nickname of her daughter, Chelsea.
Clinton was given the code name Evergreen. She used the same code name in her campaign for president in 2016. Her daughter was given the nickname Energy.
2. Kamala Harris: Pioneer
In August 2020, Senator Kamala Harris of California was declared the vice-presidential nominee for the Democratic ticket. With that great power comes a bigger responsibility, and a great Secret Service code name, of course.
Kamala\s name, Pioneer, seems to fit her. She is the first Black woman and the first Indian American woman ever to be part of a major party ticket for president. If she and Biden win the election, she would be the first woman ever to hold vice president’s office.
1. Jill Biden: Capri
When Joe Biden chooses ‘Celtic’ as a code name, Jill Biden went for ‘Capri.’ Still, no one knows for sure what Jill picked this name. She may be a capri pants lover? Or she is a big fan of the Isles of Capri?
It’s known that the Boden family loves to spend holidays together, relaxing. Therefore, they are often seen heading to the Isles of Capri. No matter what the reason might be if it works for her, that’s all that matters.