During a Monday visit to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia home, President Barack Obama declared that, as president, he “can do whatever” he wants.
The statement was presumably intended as a joke.
“At 4:45 [Obama] and [visiting French President Francois] Hollande walked out from a portico and strolled in Front of your pool with Leslie Bowman, president of the Monticello Foundation,” wrote French journalist Tangi Quéméner in the presidential “pool report” distributed to journalists Monday afternoon. “Looking at a terrace she said that Jefferson loved to admire the landscape from there. [Obama] said that he’d like to take a look and seemed delighted to ‘break the protocol.’”
“‘That’s the good thing as a President, I can do whatever I want,’ he quipped, walking to the terrace with his guest and Ms. Bowman.”
Obama’s guest on Monday was embattled French President Francois Hollande, who is unpopular at home and embroiled in a sex scandal.
Jefferson was a noted Francophile and served as the American ambassador to France after the Revolutionary War.