President Jimmy Carter has confirmed the legend in which Willie Nelson smoked a joint on the roof of the White House is true, and that Nelson had smoked with one of Carter’s sons. Nelson first told the tale in his 1988 autobiography, not revealing the name of the person he smoked the joint with until a 2015 interview with GQ. and instead describing Chip Carter “a friend of mine who happened to be a White House insider.”
President Carter confirmed the story in the documentary, Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President. Carter had been close friends with Nelson and Bob Dylan, calling the latter one of his best friends, and both Nelson and Dylan were frequently invited to the White House.
“When Willie Nelson wrote his autobiography, he confessed that he smoked pot in the White House, and he says that his companion was one of the servants at the White House,” President Carter said in the clip. “Actually, it was one of my sons.”
Chip Carter also confirmed the story to The Los Angeles Times, recalling that Nelson had been performing at the White House near the end of President Carter’s term, and Chip Carter invited Nelson upstairs during a break in the performance. President Carter had been friends with a multitude of artists, believing in the influence that music has on American politics. Elected president after Nixon and his successor, Gerald Ford, Carter had felt it was important to open the doors of the White House to the artists of the Woodstock generation, who had infused their music with activism.
Nelson released the song “Sing To Me Willie” with Edie Brickell this last May, and released his 17th studio album, First Rose of Spring, in July. The album had initially been planned to be released in April, however was pushed back in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.