Stu­dents Jonathan Moy, James O’Rourke, Razi Lane, and Grant Strobl. Courtesy Jonathan Moy.

Stu­dents par­tic­i­pating in WHIP enjoyed an oppor­tunity most DC tourists can only wish for: a tour of the White House.

A col­league of junior Jonathan Moy’s, who is a former chief of staff, arranged a tour for Moy and three others, including fellow Wash­ington Hillsdale Internship Program stu­dents junior Razi Lane and senior James O’Rourke.

The group had to pass extensive security checks. The names on their tickets were checked against Social Security numbers, birth­dates, and other infor­mation. In fact, Moy said that he was pulled aside for around 15 minutes while security made calls to verify his identity.

Despite the many hurdles slowing entry to the White House, Moy said that the tour was worth­while.

“I got to see a room that used to be a president’s dining room, in which the fam­ilies would eat their lunches and dinners until a new room was created in the ‘70s and ‘80s,” Moy said. “I was thinking, ‘you know what, this is the room where Abraham Lincoln ate his lunch or dinner with his family, as did many other pres­i­dents.’ It was just a very sobering moment, being in the same room [that] Lincoln was in.”

Moy added that he felt every room held pieces of history.

“Walking through the Red, Green, and Blue rooms, there are a lot of ancient works of art or sculp­tures as if you were walking through a Mount Vernon or some­thing like that,” Moy said.

O’Rourke said that in addition to appre­ci­ating the sig­nif­i­cance of the White House to American history, he also enjoyed the por­traits of often-for­gotten pres­i­dents– and their facial hair.

“There was a set of three por­traits near the gift shop that I con­sidered a line-up of for­gotten pres­i­dents: Grover Cleveland, Calvin Coolidge, and Chester Arthur,” O’Rourke said. “While I have a fondness for the wits and char­acters of Coolidge and Cleveland, I favored Arthur’s por­trait because I revere his mutton-chops as perhaps the most unique pres­i­dential facial hair.”

Lane said his favorite por­trait was of James Madison. Although it was smaller than the other por­traits, he said he thought it rep­re­sented Madison’s humility. He said that each por­traits gave those for­tunate enough to see them an insight into the leaders of America and into America herself.

“I most enjoyed the por­traits on the wall because they tell the story of America,” Lane said. “From Madison to Reagan, our White House cap­tures the legacy of American ideas, prin­ciples, and spirit.”