Last U.S. president to visit arrived on a battleship
Calvin Coolidge was the only other U.S. president to visit Cuba while in office. Former President Jimmy Carter visited in 2011. Highlights of Coolidge’s January 1928 trip:
• Cuba was the only foreign country Coolidge visited during his presidency. He spoke at a conference on the Americas and met with Cuban President Gerardo Machado.
• Coolidge arrived aboard the battleship USS Texas and was greeted by cheering throngs. A Saturday Evening Post account reported that Coolidge, “seemingly touched by this unaccustomed Latin warmth, showed more animation than usual. He bowed, he smiled, he took off his silk hat.”
• Prohibition was in effect in the U.S. at the time. During his meeting with Machado, a waiter approached with a tray of daiquiris. The Post’s Beverly Smith reported that Coolidge “wheeled artfully to the right, seeming to admire a portrait on the wall.” As the tray came closer, Coolidge pivoted again. “His maneuver was a masterpiece of evasive action,” Smith wrote.