George H.W. Bush’s Broccoli Ban, George Washington’s Cherry Tree Debacle, and 44 More Presidential Misconceptions

Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy.
Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy. / Bob3Studios (Abraham Lincoln), Emiya1980 (Theodore Roosevelt), Frecsh (John F. Kennedy), Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

It’s completely true that George H.W. Bush hated broccoli. In fact, he mentioned the vegetable no less than 70 times during his presidency. “I do not like broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid, and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States, and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli,” he said in 1990. But contrary to popular belief, he didn’t ban it from the White House, Air Force One, or anywhere else (except his own plate).

U.S. presidents are the subjects of some of the most entertaining, baffling, and/or misleading misconceptions in history. On this episode of Misconceptions, Mental Floss host Justin Dodd is debunking one about each person who’s held the highest office in the land. Did George Washington really chop down a cherry tree? Did William Howard Taft really get stuck in a bathtub? And, if not, where on Earth did those stories come from?

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