"Mr. President, you have to....because it's traditional."

Tony Packo’s restaurant in Toledo has walls covered with hot dog buns signed by presidential candidates (under plastic bubbles) – it appears that they have signatures from just about every Democratic and Republican candidate over the past few decades. What are the other odd things that presidents do because — it’s tradition.

Pardoning the damn turkey. That’s got to be one of the stupidest traditions I’m aware of.

Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on custom china that will probably never be used, according to this CNN article.

I think this is better suited to IMHO than GQ. Moved.

But ya gotta appreciate it if you’re that turkey!

Using a whole bunch of pens to sign bills and some other kinds of documents.

Which one? He pardoned over 100 of them. :wink:

I want to thank you for this! I didn’t know that the sets were traditionally donated to the historical archive. I honestly thought that when a first family moved out, the set was shipped to their home along with the rest of their things.

Some turkey pardons don’t go so well.
Spoilered for the sensitive souls.

I wonder if the donation part of the tradition was continued by this outgoing Prez.

There’s a lot, like the letter that the outgoing president leaves for the incoming one. And there must be a bunch of food-related things that candidates do when they’re running for the nomination. I assume they have to go to one of those cheesesteak places in Philadelphia, so people can judge them based on what they order. And then get photographed eating the cheesesteak sandwich or the pizza slice in Manhattan or the deep-fried whatever at the Iowa State Fair. I wonder how these people manage not to gain a whole lot of weight or get constant stomach upset.

Politicians (not just candidates) do tend to gain weight while campaigning. It’s not just those events, but the schedule is so fast they eat a lot of fast food.

I got this tidbit from Oops, the book about Rick Perry’s presidential campaign.

For years after he left office, people joked that ‘Nixon was a crook’. Now, he was a lot of bad things, but he really wasn’t a crook.

Donald J. Trump IS a crook. I certainly hope there is/was an itemized list of objects in the White House. I’d bet money I don’t have that the items list does Not match up to current inventory.

I had no idea that almost every administration ordered china in multiple hundreds of place settings. What a waste. Why not just keep using the existing china?

The State of the Union address is another thing that’s done because it’s traditional. The constitution only says that the president “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” No requirement that it happen every year or that it be a speech. He or she could just send a written report.

On Memorial Day and Veterans Day, the president lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

And there are traditions for the first lady as well, like decorating the White House at Christmas. (Some of this stuff is hopelessly sexist and old-fashioned.)

Wearing those stupid flag lapel pins.
Calling the winners of the Super Bowl, World Series, etc.
Concluding a speech with “May God bless the United States of America”
Returning salutes to soldiers.

In a related vein: Shoehorning the phrase “The state of the union is strong” into the SotU.

Stupidly turning around and waiving just before entering a plane.

And the playing of “Hail to the Chief.” OMFG, how the President must get sick of hearing that.

You might enjoy My Fellow Americans, starring Jack Lemmon and James Garner. They play two former presidents, who are being framed in some sort of bribery scandal by the current president (Dan Aykroyd). Anyway, they can prove their innocence, if they, travelling together, can get back to Washington. And that journey goes along much like Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Yes, it’s a comedy movie about two guys trying to get someplace by a deadline.

At one point, they are walking down a country road, and Garner says to Lemmon, “So what lyrics did you give to ‘Hail to the Chief’?” After a bit of back-and-forth about how tired they got of hearing that music, Lemmon finally tells Garner his lyrics for “Hail to the Chief”:

Hail to the Chief,
He’s the Chief and he needs hailing,
Hail to the Chief,
So everybody, hail like crazy.

Or something like that. I’m pretty sure that all real presidents have done the same. I’d love to hear what some of them were.

Throwing out the ceremonial first pitch of the baseball season.

I don’t know about the others, but I’m guessing the reason he returns salutes is that the president is the commander in chief of the military?