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Since its founding in 1912 at the request of President William Howard Taft, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has enjoyed a special relationship with America’s presidents. Over the past 104 years, every U.S. president has come to the U.S. Chamber, addressed a U.S. Chamber event or gathering, or consulted with U.S. Chamber members. And neither side has ever been shy about sharing its views – a tradition we continue in 2016 with Dear 45.
Dear 45 is a multimedia advocacy campaign centered on a series of letters to America’s next president. Penned by various voices of business, the letters highlight the business community’s priorities for the next administration.
Learn more at www.uschamber.com/dear45.
President Warren Harding addressed the Chamber’s 10th annual meeting in 1922.
Secretary of Commerce and future President Herbert Hoover attended the Chamber’s cornerstone laying ceremony in May 1922. The building was designed by famed architect Cass Gilbert, who later designed the U.S. Supreme Court building.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower spoke at the Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner gala in April 1958 at Constitution Hall.
President John F. Kennedy talked about the importance of the free enterprise system at the Chamber’s 50th annual meeting in April 1962 at Constitution Hall: "The foundation of the Chamber in April of 1912 marked a turning point in the relations between government and business.”
President Lyndon Johnson attended the Chamber of Commerce 53rd annual meeting dinner gala in April 1965.
U.S. President Richard Nixon – shown with Chamber President Jenkin Lloyd Jones (left) and Chamber Executive Vice President Arch Booth – gave closing remarks at the 57th annual meeting in April 1969. Nixon recalled that except for President Johnson, he was the only person who had addressed the gathering as a congressman, senator, vice president, and, finally, president.
President Gerald Ford spoke at the Chamber’s 63rd annual meeting in April 1975 at Constitution Hall and saluted outgoing Chamber President Arch Booth. His address was interrupted 13 times by vigorous and sustained applause.
From left, seated: U.S. Chamber of Commerce Chairman-Elect William Eastham, U.S. Chamber President Dr. Richard Lesher, and Board Chairman Herbert Richey met with President Jimmy Carter in the Oval Office in February 1977.
President Ronald Reagan spoke to a gathering of the American Tort Reform Association in May 1986 at the International Hall of Flags. In his speech, Reagan said “we'd originally planned to meet across the street in the White House, but it turned out there was so much interest, we had to find a bigger hall. And many thanks to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the chamber president, Dick Lesher, for permitting us to come here.”
Former President George H.W. Bush visited the Chamber in January 2001.
President Bill Clinton addressed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation National Business Action Rally in February 1993 at Constitution Hall.
President George W. Bush gave remarks at the U.S. Chamber's Small Business Summit in April 2008. During his speech, the president singled out the Chamber and its members for pushing a pro-growth business agenda.
President Barack Obama made his way back to the White House in February 2011 after a Chamber appearance where he addressed the joint effort between government and the private sector to spur job growth, innovation, and U.S. competitiveness.
Former President Bill Clinton talked to the media in Washington, D.C., with President Barack Obama and U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue in December 2011 to announce a $4 billion effort to increase the energy efficiency of government and other private sector buildings.