I remember from a couple of episodes of The West Wing that the President always used to enter or exit a building under a covered canopy or tent.

In House of Cards, S4E4, as the president is seen exiting the building no canopy whatsoever is in sight.

So my question is, whether this practice of the President always being under a canopy when entering or exiting a building, was that actually ever followed and has been discontinued due to some reason, or was this pure conjecture in The West Wing.

  • Are you asking about the actual president? If so, this question seems to have nothing to do with M&TV other than that the reason you're thinking about it is due to TV shows...
    – Catija
    Mar 8 '16 at 20:43
  • @Catija : No, I am asking about the presidents depicted in each of these shows.
    – stark
    Mar 8 '16 at 20:44
  • 1
    Why do you think the shows would follow the same "rules"?
    – Catija
    Mar 8 '16 at 20:46
  • 2
    Since each of the shows have been well known for a certain degree of authenticity with regards to their theme.
    – stark
    Mar 8 '16 at 20:48


In The West Wing this policy is discussed at the start of Season 2, and it is discovered that whilst former presidents did this, Bartlett chose not to do it at the urging of Toby.

In House of Cards I don't believe it is discussed, but it is likely the President decided to not use a security canopy either by deciding it with his security team or because the production team didn't want to include it for whatever reason.

Long Answer:

The West Wing discussed this in the opening episodes of Season 2.

From In the Shadow of Two Gunmen Part I. CJ is asked about it by a reporter:

ARTHUR In previous administrations the President entered and exited buildings under a tent or canopy, the Secret Service wanting to limit visibility in the open air. Can you tell me why these precautions weren't taken for President Bartlet or at least not tonight?

C.J. It's policy not to comment on security procedures.

ARTHUR Well, C.J., if you can't answer the most straightforward question then what can you tell us?

C.J. I'm sorry?

ARTHUR What do you know? What can you tell us?

C.J. has her hand on her neck and looks dazed.

C.J. [pause] There'll be another briefing in an hour and a half. Hopefully we'll know more then.

Later in the episode, we see a conversation between Toby and CJ:

C.J. Yeah, it's where my necklace. Listen, Toby, I've been getting some questions about the canopy the Secret Service used to use for outdoor entrances and exits.

They stop walking.

TOBY Who asked you?

C.J. It was. Arthur Leeds, then a couple of others stopped me.

TOBY Okay.

They start walking again.

C.J. We don't comment on security procedures.

TOBY Yeah.

C.J. So I don't think I'll have to answer that question.

TOBY Yeah.

C.J. Okay.

TOBY I'll see you at the hospital.

C.J. Yeah.

C.J. walks away. Toby goes into the COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE.

We finally learn what all of this discussion is about towards the end of the follow-up episode, In the Shadow of Two Gunmen Part II:

TOBY C.J.'s starting to get some questions about why the President's exit wasn't covered in Rosslyn.

RON The Secret Service doesn't comment on procedure.

TOBY Yeah. Ron, a few weeks after the President was sworn in, you got a memo about his protection.

RON Yeah.

TOBY It said he wanted to enter and exit in the open air, and he didn't like the feeling of traveling around in an armored tank.

RON Yeah.

TOBY Specifically, it said he wouldn't use the tent or the canopy anymore.

RON Yeah.

TOBY I wrote that memo, and the President signed it at my urging.

RON I know.

TOBY Ron, I don't think it's right that the Secret Service get blamed for what happened last night, I want the Treasury Department to hand over my memo to the Press.

RON No, we can't do that.

TOBY There are going to be a lot of questions.

RON There are always a lot of questions.


RON Don't worry about it, Toby.

TOBY It's not right. You're the guys - look at your hand.

RON My hand is fine.

TOBY Your hand is not fine.

RON Toby.

TOBY Let me go over there and tell them it was my fault.

RON It wasn't your fault.


RON It wasn't your fault. It wasn't Gina's fault, it wasn't Charlie's fault, it wasn't anybody's fault, Toby. It was an act of madmen. You think a tent was going to stop them? We got the President in the car. We got Zoey in the car. And at 150 yards, five stories up, the shooters were down 9.2 seconds after the first shot was fired. I would never let you not let me protect the President. You tell us you don't like something, we figure out something else. It was an act of madmen. Anyway, the Secret Service doesn't comment on procedure.

So it is clear that previous presidents did use a security canopy, but Barlett chose not to at the urging of Toby.

In House of Cards, I don't believe this is addressed, but it seems likely the President decided to not use a security canopy either by deciding it with his security team or because the production team didn't want to include it for whatever reason.

  • I'm confused. Your content about House of Cards implies that the president is using a canopy but the question seems to say that he is not using one.
    – Catija
    Mar 8 '16 at 20:53
  • Whoops, got wires crossed on West Wing part of question. I'll update. Mar 8 '16 at 20:53

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