10 Heartwarming Images Of U.S. Presidents Demonstrating Affection Just Because

There was a time in history when affection was a tough bit of vulnerability to wrangle from men, not just from presidents, but from dads too. There’s no way to pin down an accurate date, but sometime in the early ’80s, being sensitive became an attractive quality.

Men didn’t drop their suede tool belts and rush right into plutonic embraces, but that’s when it became more common for men to embrace, even in public. Prior to that, embrace between two men (at least two straight men) was a noteworthy occasion.

It is perhaps for this reason that the further back we go, the harder it is to find pictures of presidents showing affection. Especially for the president, there is a vulnerability with embraces.

It’s a safe bet we can find pictures of them hugging their spouses. In an environment where we tend to characterize presidents as tough or calloused, I thought it would be nice to peek back through history at a few times when our leaders dropped their guard for the right reasons.

These are the times when photographers caught our presidents showing genuine affection, not for the sake of diplomacy, but for the sake of being a human being.

Gerald And Betty Ford

The Fords were among the most openly affectionate couples to grace the halls of the White House. Their reputation was a fearlessness dedication about expressing their love for each other. Perhaps it was that love that kept them both alive into their nineties.

Jimmy Carter And Jimmy Carter

Regarding this famous embrace where a young man named Jimmy Carter had the chance to meet the man after whom he was named, “We have three things in common. We have the same name. We both have survived cancer and we both love helping people,” said young Carter to ABC news.

Ronald And Nancy Reagan

Similar to Gerald and Betty Ford the Reagans were not shy about showing their affection. You can find photos of Reagin embracing people on the campaign trail, not many, but they are out there. None of those embraces could compare to the way he held Nancy. Think what you will about his politics, the way into his heart was through Nancy.

George Herbert Walker Bush And Barbara Bush


Good luck finding examples of Elder Bush demonstrating affection. Even pictures of he and his pal Ronnie rarely show them in more than a half-hug. That said, on occasion, one could catch George showing affection to his wife, Barbara.

Bill Clinton And Master Bill Clinton Kaligana

Of anyone on this list, Bill Clinton may go down as the one president who showed a little too much affection. The most famous being the one with Monica Lewinski. Here, however, Bill puts his arms around his namesake, Master Bill Clinton Kaligana. While in Kampala, Uganda, Clinton learned of the boy’s existence through a local newspaper. He arranged to delay his departure long enough to meet the young man. Kaligana advised the former president that he wanted to study to be a doctor. Clinton pledged to support the young man.

George W Bush And A Soldier

Whereas elder Bush was a man of few embraces, his son, Dubya forged a reputation for putting his arms around soldiers and supporters. Whatever else he was a president, G.W. knew how to give a good genuine hug. In this picture, the photographer caught him one of many embraces with soldiers headed to Iraq.

Barack Obama And Scott Van Duzer

This was the hug heard ’round the world. When President Obama put his arms around Scott Van Duzer, a pizzeria owner in Florida, he didn’t see what was coming next. Van Duzer bear-hugged the president, lifting him off the ground. Twitter went nuts about the ordeal. Too bad someone didn’t capture the expression on the faces of the secret service.

Donald Trump And Supporter

President Trump may have had the hardest first few weeks of any recent president, but he doesn’t let that stop him from giving someone a warm embrace. Trump even hugged the American flag one time. In this shot, during his campaign, we see him give what is more of consoling embrace than a political hug.

Bill Clinton And Dubya

Here are two goofballs showing how much former presidents really care about the nasty things they said during campaigns. They look like old pals, which they are.

Dubya, Barack, And  Michelle

Probably the most unexpected relationship to arise in recent history, the Obamas and the Bushes. They’ve become trusted friends. This picture shows how mutual that relationship is. If you can shake a man’s hand while he kisses your wife, you trust him plenty.