News & Politics

Biden’s Limo Has “Taxation Without Representation” on the License Plate

Some hopeful Washingtonians are already talking about the statehood symbolism.

As President Joe Biden left the Capitol to travel to Arlington National Cemetery this afternoon, some people noticed the new license plates on the presidential limo. The big number, 46, of course refers to Biden’s new status as the 46th president, but below it reads the common DC slogan: “Taxation Without Representation.”

The nod to DC started with Bill Clinton, when he put “Taxation Without Representation” plates on presidential vehicles in his last weeks as president. When George W. Bush took over, he had the plates removed.

Barack Obama waited until his second term to put the plates back onto presidential cars, with some pressure from local officials. (There was even a petition.) In 2013, he announced that he would adopt the plates because “attaching these plates to the presidential vehicles demonstrates the President’s commitment to the principle of full representation for the people of the District of Columbia and his willingness to fight for voting rights, Home Rule and budget autonomy for the District,” according to the Washington Post.

Donald Trump actually kept the slogan on his cars for years, before his chief of staff at the time, John Kelly, had them removed.

Biden has hinted at some potential new traction for DC statehood during his tenure. Having “Taxation Without Representation” on the presidential Cadillac could signal his support to Washingtonians.  It’s important to note, though, that the more current iteration of the license plate slogan, which changed in 2016, is “End Taxation Without Representation.”

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Web Producer/Writer

Rosa joined Washingtonian in 2016 after graduating from Mount Holyoke College. She covers arts and culture for the magazine. She’s written about anti-racism efforts at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, dinosaurs in the revamped fossil hall at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum, and the horrors of taking a digital detox. When she can, she performs with her family’s Puerto Rican folkloric music ensemble based in Jersey City. She lives in Adams Morgan.