Presidential Displays of Affection (PDA) on Valentine's Day

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Valentine’s Day is a day designated for your special someone, and affection knows no bounds – even with our national leaders. While the presidency often involves public duties and responsibilities, presidents and first ladies throughout history have found ways to celebrate this day of love with their partners. From heartfelt gestures to private moments, their expressions of affection offer glimpses into the personal lives of those who have held the highest office in the United States.

"Your Entire, George Washington"

Throughout history, presidents have demonstrated their love for their spouses inside and outside of the Oval Office. For instance, President John F. Kennedy was known to surprise First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy with extravagant gifts, such as jewelry and handwritten love letters, on Valentine’s Day. Similarly, President Ronald Reagan famously wrote romantic letters to his wife, Nancy, expressing his deep affection for her on this special day.

Some presidents have also taken the opportunity to publicly celebrate their love. Good old Honest Abe, for example, reportedly attended a Valentine’s Day party with his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, during his time in office. Such occasions provided presidents with a chance to share intimate moments with their loved ones amid their demanding schedules.

During the Revolutionary War, General George Washington wrote a letter from Philadelphia to his wife, Martha, stating how excited he was to see her. In one of only three of the surviving letters between the lovebirds, George adulates, “I retain an unalterable affection for you, which neither time, nor the distance can change,” signed, “Your entire, George Washington.”


In contemporary times, presidents and first ladies continue to find ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day together despite the pressures of the office. Social media platforms offer us a glimpse into these private moments, with many first couples sharing heartfelt messages and photos to commemorate the occasion.

Former President Barack Obama often took to social media to publicly express his love for his wife, Michelle, on Valentine’s Day. In 2019, he shared a photo of the couple with a caption that read, "Happy Valentine's Day to the extraordiarily smart, beautiful, funny, one and only @MichelleObama. It's true; she does get down to Motown." Such gestures not only showcase their affection, but also serve as a reminder of the importance of love and partnership in the midst of their busy political careers.

Similarly, former President Donald Trump posted a loving tribute to former First Lady, Melania, with the caption, “Happy Valentine’s Day.” Melania spends the holiday making Valentines and crafts with child patients at the Children’s Inn at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda.

This Valentine’s Day, current POTUS Joe Biden posted a throwback photo of him and First Lady Jill Biden on Instagram with the caption, “Jilly, you’re the love of my life and the life of my love. Happy Valentine’s Day.”

From the National Presidential Wax Museum with Love

From handwritten love letters to social media posts, presidents and first ladies have found myriad ways to express their love and appreciation for each other on Valentine’s Day. These gestures not only highlight the human side of those who have held the highest office but also serve as a reminder of the enduring power of love in the face of adversity. As we celebrate Valentine’s Day each year, let us remember the moments of tenderness and affection shared by the first couples who have graced the White House, reminding us that love transcends politics and endures through all seasons of life. 

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