Thomas J. Whitmore (c.1953 – July 4, 2016) was an American politician who served the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001.
Prior to his interest in American politics, he was a fighter pilot who fought in the Gulf War. Whitmore was a major figure in leading the United States through the War of 1996 and after the conflict was largely revered as a hero. He was subsequently re-elected for a second term as president. Whitmore remained a prominent figure in both the United States and the world long after his term ended in 2001.
Whitmore was a major proponent of the Earth Space Defense initiative, in which he appointed David Levinson as the ESD's Civilian Director. Near the conclusion of his second term in office, Whitmore convinced General William Grey, to run for president against disgraced former Defense Secretary Albert Nimziki. He later fought in the War of 2016 and sacrificed his life to help stop the Harvester Queen.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Gallery
- 3 Memorable Quotes
- 4 Appearances
- 5 Behind the Scenes
- 6 References
Thomas Whitmore fought in the Gulf War as a F-16 fighter pilot in the United States Air Force and later took an interest in politics. He enlisted his friend and classmate from Harvard, Constance Spano, as his campaign manager to help him getting elected to Tennessee's Second Congressional district in which he held the seat for two more terms. He was eventually elected as President in 1992, beginning his first term in January 1993, because of his war experience, as well as his hopeful youth.
Whitmore also made Constance as his White House Press Secretary. He was acquainted with Constance's ex-husband David Levinson since attending their marriage. This ended on bitter terms when a physical altercation ensued between them in which Levinson accidentally and falsely believed that his ex-wife was having an affair with Whitmore.
During his first years in office, he had introduced major legislative initiatives to reform everything from the legal system to health care to the environment. However, these programs had been stalled by committees and lawmakers. Against the advice of his advisers, Whitmore spent most of his time and energy shepherding his bills through the process, allowing himself to be bogged down by first-term representatives, which he was often forced to make favors with policymakers to achieve his policies. As a result, public opinion openly attacked him for his meek outlook and inexperience in politics, and his prestige and popularity plummeted.
War of 1996
On July 2, 1996, Whitmore was discussing with Constance Spano regarding on his public image and upcoming election until he received a phone call from Secretary of Defense Albert Nimziki informing him about an extraterrestrial vessel approaching Earth. Whitmore and his staff which include Nimziki and General William Grey were briefed on the situation in which his advisors debated on whether to militarily confront the vessel or not. When the vessel settled into a stationary orbit and released thirty-six vessels towards the planet, Whitmore ordered to have his nation's alert state upgraded to DEFCON 3.
After an AWACS was destroyed while approaching one of the vessels approaching California, and two more vessels heading for New York City and Washington, D.C., Whitmore ordered to evacuate his Vice President, the cabinet, and Joint Chiefs of Staff to NORAD; Whitmore instead chose to remain in the nation's capital in order to address and calm the American public. Only General Grey and Nimziki remained to support Whitmore. After the alien ships positioned themselves over the targeted cities, Whitmore publicly addressed to the American people of the situation and making his intentions to establish communications with the aliens, and unwilling to provoke them when their intentions were still unknown to humanity. Whitmore also attempted to convince his wife Marilyn, who was at a campaign fundraiser in Los Angeles which is one of the targeted cities, to leave the city.
When attempting to establish communication with the City Destroyer over Washington, Whitmore was warned by David Levinson that the aliens came to Earth with hostile intentions. Levinson's warning was confirmed moments later when the City Destroyer vaporized the helicopters that attempted to make contact. Whitmore then immediately issued a large-scale evacuation order in the targeted cities, but his orders came too late as the aliens destroyed the cities, killing millions of people. Whitmore, his daughter Patricia, his staff, and Levinson and his father Julius narrowly escaped the destruction of Washington on Air Force One. The aftermath deeply affected Whitmore, who lamented for his indecision to prepare for the aliens' hostility from the beginning, and believing his wife to be among the dead.
Whitmore later oversaw a military counterattack against the aliens, from onboard Air Force One. However, the counterattack was an abysmal failure as the alien ships were equipped with energy shields that repelled any means of conventional attack. The aliens retaliated by destroying many U.S. military installations, including NORAD where the Vice President and Joint Chiefs of Staff were killed. Following the failed counterattack, Whitmore was urged by Nimziki to order a nuclear attack against the aliens. The secretary's suggestion alarmed Whitmore, who was very hesitant about having nuclear weapons deployed over American soil. An argument ensued in Air Force One's onboard conference room between Whitmore, Nimziki, Grey and Levinson until the latter's father, Julius, interrupted and accused the President and his advisors of having previously known of alien life and done nothing about it. The elder Levinson, much to his son's embarrassment, based his argument on the Roswell incident and Area 51. Whitmore was humored by Julius' accusation, but Nimziki sheepishly admits to him that these were true.
Nimziki reluctantly informed Whitmore that the government had known about extraterrestrial life since 1947 and had contained an alien ship and its deceased occupants in Area 51, but the President was kept deliberately ignorant of this discovery because of what Nimzicki termed "plausible deniability". Whitmore had Air Force One land at Area 51, where he meet and acquainted himself with Dr. Brackish Okun, the chief scientist of Area 51, and Major Steven Mitchell, the base's commanding officer. After learning what Dr. Okun knew about the aliens, Whitmore and all of his aides and associates including Levinson team up with Area 51's research scientists and military staff to come up with a way to defeat the invaders.
During that day, an alien was captured following a dogfight with USMC Captain Steven Hiller and taken to Area 51. Whitmore intended to have the creature interrogated, but it managed to escape and took control of Dr. Okun to communicate with Whitmore. Whitmore attempted to make overtures of peace with the alien, which were flatly rejected. He then demanded to know what its kind wanted with the Earth and its people, after which the alien launched a psychic attack against him. As a side effect of their temporary joining, Whitmore saw through the creature's memories and learned that the aliens acted like locusts, attacking planet after planet while consuming their natural resources at the cost of annihilating entire civilizations - now Earth was the most recent target.
After the captured alien was killed by his security detail, Whitmore realized the threat the aliens posed in which he reluctantly authorized a nuclear attack; Whitmore informed America's allies of his decision, in order to prevent other nuclear states from launching their arsenals until the results of America's attack were clear. Whitmore gave permission to an B-2 Spirit squadron to launch a nuclear missile on a City Destroyer over Houston while knowing that his desperate decision was not in line with his own morals. However, the City Destroyer ultimately remained unscathed and only Houston was left in nuclear ruins. This made Whitmore realize the futility of the attack and immediately called off further nuclear strikes.
Whitmore was later relieved to find that Marilyn was found alive in the rubble of Los Angeles and taken to Marine Corps Air Station El Toro by Jasmine Hiller, along with several other survivors. Jasmine's boyfriend (and later husband), Captain Steven Hiller brought Marilyn to Area 51, where she was immediately admitted to the base's hospital wing. However, the doctors soon informed Whitmore that his wife had suffered from terminal internal bleeding and would not survive much longer. Whitmore had one last moment with Marilyn before he and his daughter comforted each other.
On the morning of July 4, Whitmore and his aides learned from Levinson that he had finally devised a plan to defeat the aliens by disabling their shields. In order to do this, they would have to infiltrate the alien mothership with Area 51's captured ship and upload a computer virus into their system; allowing an ample amount of time to coordinate a global counteroffensive against the aliens. Whitmore accepted David's plan. Nimzicki vocally opposed the plan, criticizing nearly every aspect of it, and continued to question Whitmore's judgment after he had made his decision to go ahead. In response, Whitmore grabbed Nimzicki by the scruff of the neck, expressing his ire at Nimzicki's concealment of important information and underhanded personality. He then promptly removed him from office, much to Nimzicki's astonishment.
Thereafter Whitmore tasked General Grey in informing the world’s nations of America’s preparation for the counteroffensive and finding any available pilots, both enlisted and volunteered. Whitmore also decided to personally lead his forces into battle, flying a F/A-18 Hornet, given its avionic similarities to the F-16s he had flown in the Gulf. Before going into the upcoming battle, he delivered a motivational speech to the airmen.
Once the shields were successfully brought down, Whitmore led the defense of Area 51 from a City Destroyer. He and his wingmen teamed up with retired USAF volunteer and fellow F/A-18 pilot Russell Casse to provide him cover fire from their F/A-18s' M61 Vulcan cannons, while Casse prepared to fire the last remaining Sidewinder missile from his fighter jet at the alien ship's main weapon. After the missile failed to fire, Casse sacrificed himself by flying his jet into the ship's weapon and setting off a chain reaction that brought it down.
Soon, military forces throughout the world were making similar successful attacks against the invaders after Levinson and Hiller managed to destroyed the mothership with a nuclear warhead and spelling the aliens' defeat. Whitmore personally congratulated Levinson and Hiller as they watched the remains of the mothership burning up in the atmosphere with their families and friends.
Whitmore spent the post-war years in rebuilding his nation and was subsequently re-elected for a second term as president following his leadership in the War of 1996. He remained a popular figure in both his country and the whole world long after his term ended in 2001. During his second term, he was a proponent of the Earth Space Defense initiative, to which he appointed David Levinson as director, and convinced William Grey to run for president.
Following the death of Steven Hiller in the 2007 ESD Spring Expo, Whitmore, traumatized by the death of his good friend, became a recluse as his mental health began to decline. This was, in fact, due to his traumatic experience with the captured alien in 1996 that rendered him with a mental imprint of seeing images through the aliens’ mind.
In 2016, as the world prepared to celebrate the war's 20th anniversary, President Elizabeth Lanford began the celebrations by unveiling a commissioned portrait of Whitmore to honor his 'valor and leadership to unite the world and lead humanity from its darkest day to a brighter future.'
War of 2016
When a new alien assault began to approach Earth, Whitmore attempted to warn the people at a public address at the White House, but it was assumed that he was simply suffering another breakdown until the attack actually started. After the first assault decimated Earth's two decades of advances and their initial plans failed, Levinson became concerned that their years of planning meant nothing, but Whitmore rallied the men at ESD headquarters by reminding them that they hadn't stood a chance last time either, and the important thing was to keep on fighting.
On July 4th 2016, Levinson and Dr. Okun devised a plan to expose and defeat the Harvester Queen by tricking her into capturing a tug filled with fusion bombs by broadcasting a signal matching the alien sphere they had retrieved earlier. Although Patricia was willing to volunteer for the assignment, the former president took the tug instead, convincing his assigned bodyguard Matthew Travis to let him go by appealing to Travis as a friend and a fellow father, rather than as a former president.
Patricia intercepted the tug, leaving Whitmore pleased to see her in the air once more. Whitmore explained that he wasn't saving the world this time, but rather his daughter. Spotting enemy fighters approaching, Whitmore requested Patricia give him cover to fly his tug within the Queen's ship and Patricia complied. Once clear, Whitmore flew inside the ship where he came face to face with the surprised Queen. Once Levinson raised a shield around the area, Whitmore told the Queen "on behalf of the planet Earth, I want to wish you a Happy Fourth of July" before detonating the bombs, killing himself and destroying the Queen's ship. However, the Queen herself survives the blast due to a personal shield but Patricia and ESD pilots Jake Morrison, Rain Lao, Charles Miller and Dylan Hiller are able to finish what Whitmore started.
Independence Day: Resurgence
- "Daddy let me watch Letterman."
- ―Patricia and Whitmore, after his daughter betrays his confidence to the First Lady.
- "Isn't it amazing how quickly everyone can turn against you. There's a fine line between standing behind principle and hiding behind one. You can tolerate a little compromise if you're actually managing to get something accomplished."
- ―Whitmore commenting on public opinion about himself.
- "Now what do we do?"
"Address the nation. There's gonna be a lot of frightened people out there."
"Yeah. I'm one of 'em."
- ―Whitmore and Constance, looking at the City Destroyer over Washington.
- "My fellow Americans, a historic and unprecedented event has occurred. The question of whether or not we're alone in the universe has been answered. Although it's understandable that many of us feel hesitation or fear, we must attempt to reserve judgment. Panic seen occurring all over the world has caused undue injury and loss of life. This is not how we as Americans should react to what is one of the most significant events in the history of the world. Rest assure we are proceeding with extreme caution. Yet we have to consider the opportunities for ourselves, our children, future generations. These opportunities are vast, very exciting until today totally inconceivable. My staff and I will remain in the White House as we attempt to establish communication. If you feel compelled to leave these cities, please do so in an orderly fashion. According to the adjusted trafficking patterns, civil defense procedures are underway to assure the safety for all those who remain. These are uncertain but exciting times."
- ―Whitmore's emergency presidential address.
- "We could have evacuated the cities hours ago. That's the advantage of being a fighter pilot. In the Gulf War, we knew what we had to do. It's just...not simple anymore. A lot of people died today. How many didn't have to?"
- ―Whitmore blaming himself for not preparing for the aliens' hostility.
- "Exciting? People are dying out there! I don't think "exciting" is the word I'd choose to describe it!"
- ―Whitmore retorting to Dr. Brackish Okun.
- "Nuke 'em. Let's nuke the bastards."
- ―Whitmore authorizing a nuclear strike on the City Destroyers.
- "The only mistake I ever made was to appoint a sniveling little weasel like you Secretary of Defense. However, that is a mistake, I am happy to say, that I don't have to live with. Mr. Nimziki... you're fired."
- ―Whitmore firing Albert Nimziki.
- "Good morning. Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world, and you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind. Mankind, that word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interest. Perhaps it's fate that today is the 4th of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom. Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution, but from annihilation. We're fighting for our right to live, to exist, and should we win the day, the 4th of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice, 'We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on, we're going to survive. Today we celebrate our Independence day!'"
- ―Whitmore's address to U.S. fighter pilots.
- "I'm a combat pilot, Will. I belong in the air."
- ―Whitmore volunteering to lead the counterstrike.
- "He did it, the son of a bitch did it!"
- ―Whitmore remarking on Russell Casse's sacrifice.
Independence Day: Crucible
- "To even deign to call what we have right now an economy is laughable, but here's the thing. New York, L.A., Houston—those cities won't be rebuilt. Eventually, maybe, but we've lost so many people—it's easier to build a new life—or continue an old one—where there is working infrastructure. This place, however—this place is different. The White House wasn't just a building, it was a symbol. So was the Capitol building, and we'll soon get to work on that. This is the one place in this country that must be rebuilt. We need people to understand that we didn't just not lose—we won. That we'll carry on."
- ―Whitmore's reason for rebuilding the White House.
- "My fellow Americans. It has been the highest honor I have ever known or will ever know to have served you and served this country, both in the military and in this office. As a nation - as a world - we have suffered terrible loss and heartbreak, but we have also shown incredible resilience and resolve. This will not end when I leave office - your strength comes not from me or from any political leader, but from yourselves. Indeed, all of my strength these past years has come from you. Today, I address you one last time as president of these United States."
- ―Whitmore's final Presidential address.
Independence Day: Resurgence
- "We always knew they were coming back. But look how far we’ve come. In the last 20 years this planet has been unified in a way that’s unprecedented in human history. That’s sacred. That’s worth fighting for. We convinced an entire generation that this is a battle we can win and they believed us. We can’t let them down. It wasn’t luck last time. It was our resolve. We all have to fight to our last breath and that is gonna lead us to victory."
- ―Whitmore to the ESD.
- "On behalf of the people of Earth, happy Fourth of July."
- ―Whitmore's last words to the Alien Queen before sacrificing himself.
- Independence Day/novel (first appearance)
- ID4: Independence Day
- Independence Day: Silent Zone (mentioned)
- Independence Day: Crucible
- Independence Day: Resurgence/novel
Behind the Scenes
- Thomas Whitmore was originally intended to be a Richard Nixon-like figure. The role was originally written for Kevin Spacey, co-writer Dean Devlin's friend from high school. An executive at Fox refused to cast Spacey, insisting he didn't have the potential to be a big movie star. The part was re-written and Bill Pullman was then cast in the role.
- Thomas Whitmore's participation in the final battle against the aliens would have been the first U.S. commander-in-chief to lead troops into combat since James Madison took command of a rearguard artillery battery to cover the retreat of the U.S. Army during the British attack on Washington, DC, in 1814.
- To prepare for his role, Bill Pullman read The Commanders by Bob Woodward and watched the documentary film The War Room.
- Bill Pullman used his memory of a extracted decayed tooth in order to come up with a terrified expression during the scene with the alien prisoner's telepathic attack.
- Whitmore's speech was modeled on St. Crispin's Day speech from William Shakespeare's Henry V.
- Bill Pullman's speech was filmed on 6 August 1995 in front of an old airplane hangar in Wendover Airport. The hangar once housed the Enola Gay, which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima exactly 50 years earlier on 6 August 1945.
- Whitmore's "We will not go quietly into the night" line is a adaptation of one of Dylan Thomas' most famous poems, "Do not go gentle into that good night", composed in 1951.
- Bill Pullman's final words in his "Independence Day" speech were ad-libbed. This was added at the last minute for dramatic effect in an effort to convince 20th Century Fox not to avoid a legal battle to earn the right to name the film "Independence Day." At the time, the production was nicknamed "ID4" because Warner Bros. owned the rights to the title Independence Day, and Dean Devlin had hoped if Fox executives noticed the addition in dailies, the impact of the new dialogue would help them win the rights to the title. The right to use the title was eventually won.
- The novelization of Independence Day establishes Whitmore as a young senator from Chicago prior to becoming President.
- How I Saved the World
- Independence Day: Official Novelization
- Independence Day: Crucible
- "Independence Day: 14 Cool Behind-The-Scenes Facts You May Not Know" by Mike Reyes, CinemaBlend.
- Aberly and Engel 1996, p. 32.
- "The Oral History of the President’s Speech in ‘Independence Day’" by James Harris, Complex
- "20 Wild Details Behind The Making Of Independence Day" by Matthew Trzcinski, Screen Rant.