“So this is like, 1814,” he starts off by saying.
“Many of the presidents have used it, some don’t. You have a choice of, like, eight desks.”
Wrong, so wrong!
A plaque affixed to the president’s desk tells the actual history of how it came to be.
Named after the HMS Resolute, the British ship from which it was crafted, the desk was given to President Rutherford B. Hayes by Queen Victoria of England in 1880. The ship did not sail its first expedition until 1852 and didn’t come into American possession until it was discovered as a shipwreck in 1855 by Capt. James Buddington, an American whaler. After the ship was fully refurbished, the Resolute was sailed to its native country as a form of peace offering from the U.S. government in 1856. When the ship was eventually broken up, the Queen commissioned desks — one of which became the Resolute desk — to be made from its timbers, and gave it to the United States.
While it’s true that the desk has been a staple of many presidents’ White Houses, it’s actually one of six desks, not eight, that have graced the Oval Office. The other desks are the Theodore Roosevelt desk, Hoover desk, Wilson desk, Johnson desk and C&O desk. Though the Resolute desk has resided in the White House from the time it was given to Hayes, it didn’t begin its stint as an Oval Office feature until the Kennedy administration. After it was removed for use in exhibits, including a stint at the Smithsonian, President Jimmy Carter requested its return to the Oval Office in 1977. It has remained there for the term of every president since, with the exception of George H.W. Bush, who opted for the C&O desk, according to the White House Historical Association’s website.