There was a time when official electronic communications weren’t encrypted, and the Secret Service that protects the president of the United States and other government officials chose code names for those they protected. The practice continues today, but it’s more for clarity and tradition. When you have a family of, say Trumps, you can’t just refer to a “Trump.” And for the sake of brevity, a code name like “Starfox” would be a lot faster when communicating than, say “Franklin Roosevelt.”
Also, as a nod to tradition, the code names for First Families stick to the same letter. Although most of those with code names are part of the president’s family, there are a handful who aren’t who were given new monikers.
For a look at some of the best secret service code names ever given, just click on ‘Start Slideshow‘ and giggle at some of the ridiculous ones. What would your code name be?
Eleanor Roosevelt – Code Name: Rover
Although it was Franklin D. Roosevelt who served as president of the United States from 1933 to 1945, his wife Eleanor Roosevelt was a First Lady who led in her own way. As the First Lady, the secret service were always around to protect her, and they referred to her as Rover. It was an appropriate code name for the “reluctant First Lady.”
“Rover” was constantly on the move, working for humanitarian groups, and doing her own work. She refused to sit at the White House and play hostess. This caused a problem for the secret service agents tasked with protecting her.
Eleanor Roosevelt had an idea of what the White House was all about even before her stint as First Lady. Don’t stop reading now!
Eleanor Roosevelt traveled quite a bit and disliked having the secret service constantly tailing her. So, the “Rover” was allowed to travel on her own, as long as she agreed to learn how to use a gun and carry it with her at all times. Such a fitting name for a woman who was always on the move!
Not only was Eleanor the wife of a president, she was the niece of one, too. Former President Theodore Roosevelt was her uncle. She was not only a part of a presidential family, the humanitarian and active political figure also served as a delegate to the United Nations.
Now that he’s the 45th president of the United States, what sort of code name do you think Donald Trump chose? Click “Next” to find out!
Donald Trump – Code name: Mogul
When a new administration takes over at the White House, the White House Communications Agency assigns each one of the First Family a code name. The agency chooses names that are typically two syllables, aren’t commonly-used words, and they typically start with the same letter. They present a list of approved code names to the family, who get to choose their call signs.
Naturally, President Donald J. Trump, a real estate magnate would choose “Mogul” as his code name. There’s not much concern about the public knowing the code names because communications are regularly encrypted.
If President Trump is “Mogul,” what could his wife and children’s names be? Any guesses? Keep reading to find out if you’re right!
First Lady Melania Trump is referred to as “Muse,” while the daughter of the White House, Ivanka Trump is “Marvel.” Donald Trump Jr. went with “Mountaineer,” and Eric Trump is known as “Marksman.” The names make a lot of sense, but I’m wondering why Tiffany Trump doesn’t have one. Also, what about Barron?
Many other White House officials who are in the public eye also get code names, but some are based on position. For example, the White House Press Secretary is typically referred to as “Matrix.” And then there’s Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President – she’s known as “Blueberry.”
One of America’s favorites of the First Ladies had a code name as lovely as she was. Know who it is? Click “Next” to see!
Jackie Kennedy – Code name: Lace
Since Harry Truman, presidents and others in the White House have been issued code names for security sake. When the Kennedys moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, President John F. Kennedy was dubbed “Lancer,” and the First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy became known to the secret service as “Lace.”
Jackie Kennedy was known for her style and grace, so “Lace” was more than appropriate for her. The First Lady had a special relationship with the secret service agents who protected her, ensuring that the men were able to spend the holidays with their families by setting up family vacations around the same time.
Jackie Kennedy had a special relationship with one secret service agent in particular. Read on to find out more!
Jackie Kennedy spent a lot of time traveling the world, from all over the United States to Greece to Italy, and secret service agent Clint Hill seemed to always be there, too. Mrs. Kennedy reportedly always called him “Mr. Hill,” though the two would share lots of time together, and cigarettes.
After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, secret service protection increased for the First Lady, so “Lace” had someone by her side often. When she remarried in 1968, she lost her special protection.
It wasn’t only Presidents and First Ladies to get code names and secret service protection. Find out who got some special protection you might not expect by clicking “Next” now!
Frank Sinatra – Code name: Napoleon
Crooner Frank Sinatra was known for his smooth voice, charm and charisma, and those blue, blue eyes. But he wasn’t only known as “Ol’ Blue Eyes,” he was also known as “Napoleon,” at least by the secret service agents.
Sinatra was reportedly deeply entrenched in some shady relationships in Chicago. And it was the people he knew and those important connections that got him involved in politics in a roundabout way.
Sinatra had ties to Chicago mafia bosses and made a few … arrangements. Want to know more? Keep reading!
“Napoleon” set up a meeting between JFK’s father Joseph P. Kennedy and mob leader Sam Giancana. I guess having the Chicago mob behind a political party is a good thing? But things didn’t go well for the Chicago gangsters after a supposed interlude between JFK and a mistress who also had an affair with Giancana.
When JFK took office and the Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy started locking up the Chicago’s mobsters, mafia members reportedly turned on Sinatra. Ol’ Blue Eyes, or “Napoleon,” gathered the Rat Pack to play eight nights a row at Giancana’s club to get back in with the Chicago mob boss.
The Royal Family have their own names, too. I’m dying to know what you guys would guess Prince Charles’ code name is. Click “Next” to see what it is!
Prince Charles – Code name: Unicorn
As the Prince of Wales, Charles Philip Arthur George Windsor, has a lot of kingly and princely names. So, it may come as a surprise to know that his code name for secret service agents is “Unicorn.” Unicorns are often thought of alongside rainbows, candy, squealing little girls, but not typically royalty.
However, Prince Charles is sometimes known as “Unicorn.” There’s no written record of why this is, but I did a little digging and found that the royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom has a bright silver unicorn on it. And if you consider the legend that a free unicorn is a dangerous beast, well, the code name isn’t quite so feminine, is it?
Prince Charles doesn’t just have the one code name, though. Keep reading to find out the other one!
There’s no telling why Prince Charles is also referred to as “Principal” or “Daily” by secret service agents, but there you have it. The heir to the throne of Britain has more names than anyone I know.
Prince Charles has grown up surrounded by special protection, and he’s always worked closely with secret service agents. In 2013, Prince Charles, or “Unicorn,” set up annual awards of excellence for those working in espionage – they’re known as the Prince of Wales’ Intelligence Community Awards.
She brought her message of the dangers of drugs to the youth of the ’80s, but her code name was decidedly cheery. Click “Next” to see who I’m talking about!
Nancy Reagan – Code name: Rainbow
From “Unicorn” to “Rainbow.” Fitting, right? Also fitting is that Nancy Reagan was the one whose code name was “Rainbow.” The former First Lady and wife of former President Ronald Reagan was known for being a bit demanding, according to some former aides of the White House.
In fact, Nancy Reagan, the First Lady who taught us all to “Just Say No” to drugs, wasn’t terribly friendly with the security detail. According to some reports, “Rainbow” would call her husband away if he was having too much fun with the secret service agents.
Nancy Reagan wasn’t all work and no play, though. Read more about the former First Lady!
“Rainbow” was quite obviously in love with her husband. The media noticed whenever the president gave speeches that Nancy Reagan would gaze at him with this intense admiration and love. It was that obvious devotion that most people remember about the former First Lady.
Twelve years after Mr. Reagan died, Nancy Reagan followed him in death. She was 94 years old. And after her funeral, a rainbow appeared near the Reagan Presidential Library.
Speaking of the Reagan, any clue what the former President Ronald Reagan’s code name was? Hint: It begins with an ‘R’ – click “Next” to see what it is!
Ronald Reagan – Rawhide
Former President of the United States Ronald Reagan was known as the president who united Democrats and Republicans. His first career as a movie star gave him huge public appeal, and his charm and charisma carried him with others. He was known as a bit of a cowboy and rancher, too, which could be part of the reason why his code name was “Rawhide.”
There’s a great story of how former President Reagan lost the right to use his guns. John Barletta, the secret service agent who was assigned to the president while on the ranch, said he recalled the day that Reagan pulled out his gun and started shooting at a blue heron that kept eating the fish in his pond.
“Rawhide” caused a big commotion when he drew his gun to shoot at a blue heron on his ranch. Keep reading to find out what happened!
Naturally, other secret service agents on the property responded to the shooting. Barletta tried to clear things up by telling them over the radio that everything was OK – “Rawhide shot.” Bad choice of words there, partner.
Slight panic swept the detail at the president’s ranch, but things finally settled down when Barletta explained that it was the president doing the shooting. After that incident, Reagan’s guns were taken away by the secret service, if only to give them a bit of peace.
Another big name from the Royal Family has a code name that’s, well, I’m going to insist it’s my code name now. Click “Next” to see the next one!
Queen Elizabeth II – Kittyhawk
The Queen of England Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born in 1926, and she’s held her title since she was 27 years old. Like her son, Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth II has two code names: “Kittyhawk” and “Redfern.”
There isn’t supposed to be any meaning behind the code names, but many of them seem fitting for their persons. I can’t quite figure out the queen’s yet. She’s led an interesting life, though, especially before her reign began.
Did you know that “Kittyhawk” had a crush on her second cousin once removed, and her father was none too pleased? Keep reading!
Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark made quite an impression on the young to-be queen when she was only 13 years old. They were engaged when she was only 20 years old, although her father reportedly felt she was too young to marry.
The prince gave up his title, married the young Elizabeth, and only four years later when King George VI died, making “Kittyhawk” the ruler of England, and her husband His Royal Highness Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Another woman who has served several leadership rules almost had the ultimate one, and kept her code name from her time in the White House. Know who it is? Click “Next” to find out!
Hillary Clinton – Evergreen
I’m not sure whether to lead with Hillary Clinton as the First Lady, being married to former President Bill Clinton, or Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, or Hillary Clinton as U.S. Senator for New York, or former presidential candidate for the Democrat party, Hillary Clinton. Whatever way you spin it, Hillary Clinton is a powerful leader in the United States.
When she spent time at the White House as the First Lady from 1993 to 2001, she was known as “Evergreen” and her husband, the 42nd president of the United States was known as “Eagle.” Mrs. Clinton has spoken publicly about her code name, though she hasn’t revealed any meaning behind it.
Although much time passed between Mrs. Clinton’s time at the White House and her run for president, she kept her code name. Keep reading to find out more!
Hillary Clinton ran presidential campaigns twice – once in 2008 and again in 2016. In between, she worked as the U.S. Secretary of State, and through it all she was known to secret service agents as “Evergreen.”
As pointed out before, the code names aren’t supposed to have any meaning, but I think there’s a little bit of a meaning, even if it’s just in the choice of one’s code name. After all, Hillary Clinton is sort of an evergreen politician, always there, enduring through it all.
It’s common for presidential candidates to receive code names because they get security detail during their campaigns. Click “Next” to see another candidate’s code name!
Bernie Sanders – Intrepid
As a long-time American politican, the world of politics isn’t new to Bernie Sanders. He served as Mayor of Burlington, Vermont from 1981 to 1989, and then moved on to the House of Representatives. Sanders served there from 1991 to 2007. After that, he was voted in as Vermont’s senator.
It was his presidential run in 2016 that earned him a code name from the secret service agents. Sanders was known as “Intrepid,” and again, it seems fitting. The word intrepid means fearless, or adventurous. It also means undaunted, spirited, and even heroic.
Sanders spent many months on the road running a grass roots campaign for his 2016 run for President of the United States. Keep reading for more on his story!
Sanders ended up raising tens of millions of dollars in campaign donations, with the average donation being about $27. His online campaign and several appearances in small towns across the United States drew hundreds of thousands of people to show their support for the ultra-liberal candidate.
“Intrepid” had his code name tweeted out during his campaign, and while code names are publicly known, the secret service agents won’t comment when asked about it. After all, the security details use the code names for official business, and they generally don’t comment on much, anyway.
In addition to presidents, presidential candidates, and royalty, other White House officials get code names, too. Click “Next” for one that does have a meaning behind it!
Josh Bolten – Code name: Fatboy
Although Josh Bolten wasn’t a president, he was often right next to the 43rd president of the United States as the former White House Chief of Staff to George W. Bush. And so, Bolten got his own code name that was used by the secret service when they needed to report to each other of his whereabouts.
“Fatboy” was Bolten’s new moniker, used to let other agents know when Bolten was boarding Air Force One, or entering the Oval Office. Bolten’s code name has nothing to do with his physique, though.
The traditional code name for the Chief of Staff is “Potomac,” but Bolten preferred “Fatboy.” Keep reading to find out why!
“Fatboy” is a nod to Bolten’s love of motorcycles, and specifically his Harley-Davidson that’s shiny silver and black. Initially, his first choice was the traditional code name of “Potomac,” but he went with “Fatboy” instead.
Bolten isn’t the only Chief of Staff who chose a different code name. Andrew Card preferred “Patriot,” and Rahm Emanuel went by “Black Hawk.” One of the most interesting might have been Nixon’s Chief of Staff James Baker, who was known as “Fencing Master” or “Foxtail.”
Not every code name was well thought out, and this woman of the White House had to have hers changed almost immediately. Click “Next” to see what it was!
Happy Rockefeller – Code name: Stardust (Shooting Star)
Initially, Happy Rockefeller, who served as the Second Lady of the White House was dubbed “Shooting Star” as her code name. Happy Rockefeller’s husband Nelson Rockefeller served as Vice President of the United States during Gerald Ford’s time in the White House.
The secret service realized soon after that “Shooting Star” might cause wide swept panic among the agents, and quickly changed Happy Rockefeller’s code name to “Stardust.” She wasn’t the most-loved woman of politics at the time, considering how she came to be Nelson Rockefeller’s second wife.
Some of the best code names were given to the Vice President’s wives. Keep reading to see more!
Happy Rockefeller was 18 years younger than Nelson Rockefeller, and the two of them had families and marriages before they met. In fact, the two of them were subject to rumors and gossip, and did not receive tons of support from the public.
Other Second Ladies’ code names include Mary Quayle who was known as “Sunshine,” Lynn Chaney was “Author,” and Karen Pence is called “Hummingbird.” Perhaps the most giggle-worthy code name, though, belonged to one of the Second Daughters of the White House: Karenna Gore, code name “Smurfette.”