Richard C. Weaver
Richard C. Weaver is a Californian man known by the nickname Handshake Man. Weaver has earned notoriety for frequently bypassing the US Secret Service and shaking the hand of the United States President.
Weaver claims his handshakes are often used as a way of passing "notes from God" to the presidents.
According to his site, Weaver is a born-again Christian who is married to Donna Weaver and has two children, Cindy and David. He also believes that God has directly spoken to him and calls himself a "modern-day prophet". In late 2008, Weaver stated that he would not attempt to shake Barack Obama's hand.
Richard C. Weaver claims to have shaken the hand of four US Presidents after Jimmy Carter. However, with little evidence of such events, it is unknown if these instances actually occurred. The only confirmed event was the 1997 inauguration of Bill Clinton where Weaver managed to shake Clinton's hand. (However, Weaver does have a picture on his website of himself meeting President George H. W. Bush). Despite the incident having led the Secret Service to prepare for his return, Weaver was able to bypass security and meet the then recently inaugurated George W. Bush in 2001.
2001 Presidential Inauguration
On the January 20 inauguration event of 2001, Weaver was able to meet George W. Bush and hand him a coin after he had been sworn in as President. Weaver had a standing-room-only ticket that would only allow him access to the event. Despite having been shown tapes of a similar meeting between Weaver and former president Bill Clinton, the Secret Service were not able to catch him.
Although Ari Fleischer insisted that the president was in no danger, The Capitol Police took the matter seriously as a breach of security.
On February 6, 2003 Weaver attended the National Prayer Breakfast meeting and was able to hand Bush an eight-page typed letter about Iraq "from God". In 2005, Weaver was arrested on an outstanding warrant related to this event.
Richard C. Weaver's website makes a number of claims. According to his website, he created the Spiritual Revolution through Christ Inc. which was honored in a "Spiritual Revolution Day" by then Governor Ronald Reagan in 1971. He also claims on his site that in 1977 he started ministering to "six presidents, over half the current U.S. Senators, three Supreme Court Justices, many congressmen, and governors". There is also a claim to ministering to many pro athletes in baseball, football, and basketball. However, these claims have not been independently substantiated.
December 8, 2009, CNN's website discusses an unreleased Secret Service document used for training purposes which discusses various instances where individuals have bypassed the Secret Service and gained access to the president. This document credits Mr. Weaver with four instances of having gained access to a president.
- David Montgomery (20 November 2008). "Handshake Man Says He'll Steer Clear Jan. 20". Washington Post. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
- "Spiritual Revolution Thru Christ, Inc. - Richard "Rich" Weaver Ministries". 17 May 2008. Archived from the original on 17 May 2008.
- "PROPHESIES AND WAR". 4 October 2002. Archived from the original on 4 October 2002.
- Montgomery, David (21 November 2008). ""Handshake Man" says he won't be at Inauguration". The Seattle Times.
- "Secret Service says inauguration security breach wasn't threat to Bush". CNN. 24 January 2001. Archived from the original on 7 December 2006.
- "Bush's security and the Handshake Man". The Times Of India. 9 February 2003.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-10-27. Retrieved 2005-10-12.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Police arrest man who sneaked into Bush inauguration". The Sydney Morning Herald. 21 January 2005.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2003-08-02. Retrieved 2017-12-09.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Secret Service report details 91 breaches". CNN. 8 December 2009.