President Woodrow Wilson wanted sheep.
It was 1918, and “while riding in one of the White House automobiles through the country with Dr. Grayson [a personal friend] the president remarked that he would like to see some sheep at the White House, and that Mrs. Wilson would like to see them, too,” according to a Washington Post report from April of that year.
It was settled. “President Wilson intends to raise some sheep on the White House lawn,” the story surmised. And it was a nice enough idea. Wilson and his wife, according to the White House history website, wanted to be the model family for supporting the war effort. Over the next two years, auctions of the White House wool would yield $52,000 for the Red Cross.
But trouble lurked.
“President Wilson is having no end of trouble with the flock of sheep he purchased recently to graze on the White House lawn,” a May 12, 1918, Washington Post article reported. The problem: The sheep were scared of the cars that had started to appear across the District of Columbia in increasing numbers.
“Two of the sheep developed serious illness yesterday and are under the care of specialists from the Department of Agriculture,” the Post’s reporting continued.
The animals had been getting along nicely, until yesterday. The fact that one of the sheep has the “dips” is said to be due to the fact that it became frightened by passing automobiles and similar noises to which it was not accustomed.
By 1920, the flock had grown to 48 and had “eaten up nearly all the grass in the rear” of the White House. Seeing the destruction of the White House backyard, Wilson ordered the flock to graze in the front, prompting frantic preparations to fence in “the numerous flower beds and the more delicate trees which adorn the front lawn to save them from the flock,” a Post story from that May states.
But by August of that year, Wilson had had enough of the sheep. “President Wilson has decided to retire from the sheep business,” the Post declared.
What We're Following See More »
"President Trump is preparing to impose a package of $60 billion in annual tariffs against China, following through on a long-time threat that he says will punish China for intellectual property infringement and create more American jobs. The tariff package, which Trump plans to unveil by Friday, was confirmed by four senior administration officials. Senior aides had presented Trump with a $30 billion tariff package that would apply to a range of products, but Trump directed them to roughly double the scope of the new trade levies."
"President Trump’s attorneys have provided the special counsel’s office with written descriptions that chronicle key moments under investigation in hopes of curtailing the scope of a presidential interview, according to two people familiar with the situation. Trump’s legal team recently shared the documents in an effort to limit any session between the president and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to a few select topics" on order to "minimize his exposure. ... The lawyers are worried that Trump, who has a penchant for making erroneous claims, would be vulnerable in an hours-long interview."