Resigning from the presidency is a daunting task. So, it makes sense that Richard Nixon chose a light lunch before making the announcement 39 years ago today.
White House photographer Oliver Atkins took a picture of the meal before it reached the president (shown above). Later that day, Nixon would say those immortal words:
Therefore, I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow. Vice President Ford will be sworn in as president at that hour in this office.
Nixon went with pineapple, cottage cheese (or so it appears to our eyes; there has been some in-office debate over the chance it is chicken salad), and a glass of milk, as seen in the photo posted by the National Archives on Thursday.
It’s yet another example of the unusual moments that White House photographers, from incumbent Pete Sousa going on back, capture in the life of the presidency, with small yet powerful visual details.