Jon Stewart had private meetings with President Obama during crucial times in his administration. The Daily Show host met with the commander in chief on two occasions, in 2011 and in 2014, according to The New York Times. Politico discovered the meetings in the official White House visitors’ log.
What was said in the two meetings remains unclear, though current and former officials said the reason for the meetings was so Obama and his communications team could learn about Stewart’s influence on younger voters. The president requested the meetings, each of which lasted about an hour.
“Jon Stewart was a key influencer for millennials,” Dag Vega, who helped develop relationships with media personalities, told the paper. “They relied on him for an honest take on the news, and the president and senior staff know that.”
Stewart’s first visit with the president took place in the Oval Office, with the host entering the White House where public tours start and then being escorted to his meeting with the president. The meeting occurred after Obama, as part of his reelection campaign, had been on a three-day bus tour promoting his American Jobs Act. The Times reports that he joked with the escort that he was being called to the principal’s office.
The second occasion, which took place in February 2014, occurred as Obama was preparing to discuss the Crimea situation in Ukraine with Russian President Vladimir Putin. On that occasion, Stewart joked with the press secretary that the meeting went terribly, though a former aide said the host was visibly happy.
Obama made his final appearance on Stewart’s Daily Show last week. He joked that he was attempting to pass an “executive order” to keep Stewart in his hosting chair. Stewart will depart the show on August 6th, after which Trevor Noah will step in.