Lyndon B. Johnson liked to conduct meetings in the bathroom.

  • LBJ’s bathroom
LBJ's bathroom
Dave G. Houser/ Alamy Stock Photo

Lyndon B. Johnson led the nation in an untraditional manner at times, going so far as to conduct meetings with his advisers while seated on the toilet. The 36th U.S. President was known for a method of persuasion called the “Johnson treatment,” in which he won political victories either through flattery or bullying. One of LBJ’s most common tactics was inviting people into the bathroom and continuing the conversation, often leaving the door wide open and creating an awkward environment.

While some advisers would turn away in order to give the President privacy, Johnson would invite them to come closer so he could hear them better. One such instance saw national security adviser McGeorge Bundy nearly stumble and fall onto LBJ’s lap while he was seated on the toilet. Johnson treated other private facilities as meeting rooms as well — he was known to have aides stand just outside the shower, and he kept the conversation going while drying himself off afterward. Johnson even had telephones installed throughout various White House bathrooms, to ensure he’d never miss an important call. The President’s eccentricities weren’t limited to just the toilet, either. LBJ once completely stripped down while conducting an interview with reporters aboard Air Force One, continuing the conversation as normal. He also began many mornings by inviting aides into the White House bedroom to discuss official business while he was still in bed with his wife, Lady Bird Johnson.

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