President William McKinley, our 25th President, is perhaps best known for his position and leadership during the Spanish-American war and for his unfortunate assassination. A lesser-known fact, however, is that McKinley had a double yellow-headed Mexican (Amazon) parrot that in true patriotic form could whistle “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” McKinley would whistle the opening bars of the song, and Washington Post would finish the tune.
McKinley thought Washington Post so clever that he appointed the parrot to the official position of White House greeter. Washington Post took this quite seriously, and did his best to make all feel welcome – especially women. Whenever a woman would walk by his cage, Washington Post would pipe up: “Look at all the pretty girls!”
It is unclear just how the parrot got his famous name. At the time the Washington Post newspaper, having been founded in 1877, was still in its infancy. McKinley did cultivate formal relationships with the press, allowing reporters to consider the White House to be one of their regular beats. It may be that the Stilson Hutchins, founder of the Washington Post, and President McKinley knew each other.
While we may not know how McKinley acquired the little parrot or how he got his name, it is certain that Washington Post had a grand time during his reign as greeter. At least, he must have been very popular with the ladies.