Thomas J. Whitmore (1953–2016) was an American politician who served in the Gulf War before going into politics. He served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. He 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 his Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General William Grey, to run for president against disgraced former Defense Secretary Albert Nimziki.
Thomas Whitmore fought in the Gulf War as a fighter pilot in the Air Force and later took an interest in politics. 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. During his campaign, Whitmore befriended his campaign staffer and later press adviser, Constance Spano. Through Constance, Whitmore was introduced to her ex-husband, David Levinson, on bitter terms when a physical altercation ensued in which Levinson 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, he was openly attacked by the media for his inexperience in politics and meek outlook, and his popularity plummeted.
War of 1996
On July 2, 1996, Whitmore was discussing with Constance Spano regarding on his damaged public image until he received a phone call from Secretary of Defense Albert Nimziki informing him about the arrival of the alien visitors. As Whitmore tries to lead his nation through this dire event in what became known as the War of 1996, he chose to stay in Washington, D.C. rather than to evacuate with his vice president and Joint Chiefs of Staff to NORAD in order to address and calm the American public.
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 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 were too late as the aliens destroyed the cities. Whitmore, his daughter Patricia, Levinson, and his staff 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. However, the counterattack was an abysmal failure as the alien ships were equipped with energy shields that repels any sort of attack. The aliens retaliated by destroying many U.S. military installations, including NORAD where the Vice President and Joint Chiefs of Staff were. Following the failed counterattack, Whitmore was urged by Nimziki to order a nuclear attack against the aliens. A suggestion that Whitmore was hesitant of having nuclear weapons deployed on American soil. An argument ensued between Whitmore, his staff, and David Levinson until the latter's father, Julius Levinson, interrupted and accused the President and his advisors of having previously known of alien life by basing on the Roswell incident and Area 51. Whitmore was humored by Julius' accusation, but Nimziki admits to him that these were true.
Nimziki informed Whitmore that the government had known about the aliens 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. Whitmore had Air Force One land at Area 51, where he meets Dr. Brackish Okun, the chief scientist of Area 51. After learning what Dr. Okun knew about the aliens, Whitmore assigned David Levinson to help Area 51's research staff to come up with a way to defeat the invaders.
During that day, an alien was captured 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 demanded what its kind want in which the alien launched a psychic attack against him. Whitmore saw the creature's memories and learned that the aliens act like locusts, attacking planet to planet while consuming their natural resources at the cost of annihilating entire civilizations - in which Earth is the most recent target. After the captured alien was killed by his security detail, Whitmore reluctantly authorizes a nuclear attack. But an attempt on a City Destroyer over Houston failed to penetrate, in which Whitmore realized the futility and immediately called off the attack.
Whitmore was later relieved that Marilyn was found alive in El Toro with several other survivors and taken to Area 51 by Captain Steven Hiller. However, Whitmore learned that his wife suffered from internal bleeding and will soon die. Whitmore had one last moment with Marilyn before he and his daughter comfort each other.
On July 4, Whitmore learned from David Levison that he finally devised a plan to defeat the aliens is by disabling their shields via infiltrating 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 counterattack against the aliens. Whitmore accepted David's plan and decided to personally participate in the counterattack as a fighter pilot. But before he does so he delivers his famous motivational speech to the men and women in the upcoming battle.
- “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!'”
Once the shields were successfully brought down, Whitmore leads in the defense of Area 51 from a City Destroyer and teams up with fellow pilot Russell Casse to provide him cover fire while Casse prepares to fire the last remaining missile at the alien ship's main weapon. After Casse's missile failed to fire, he sacrificed himself by flying 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 wreckage of the mothership burning up in the atmosphere.
Whitmore was re-elected for a second term as president following his leadership in the War of 1996, and he remained a popular figure in both his country and the whole world long after his term ended in 2001. He was a proponent of the Earth Space Defense initiative, which he also appointed David Levinson as the ESD's civilian director, and convinced William Grey to run for president.
Following the death of Steven Hiller in the 2007 ESD Spring Expo, Whitmore became a recluse due to a decline in his mental health. This is 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.
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 EDF 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 4, 2016, Levinson 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 Pod 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, Jake, Rain, Charlie and Dylan are able to finish what Whitmore started.
Independence Day: Resurgence
- “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.”
- “Speaking of getting something accomplished. I've been named one of the ten sexiest men in America! Finally, we're getting somewhere on the real issues.”
- “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 attack 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. Nimzicki... you're fired.
- Whitmore firing Albert Nimzicki.”
- “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
- “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.”
- “On behalf of the people of Earth, happy Fourth of July.
- Whitmore's last words to the Alien Queen before sacrificing himself.”
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 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 the memory of a decayed tooth which was pulled from his mouth in order to come up with a terrified expression when speaking with the alien invaders.
- 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 an 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.
- The novelization of Independence Day establishes Whitmore as a young senator from Chicago prior to becoming president.
- Independence Day (novel) Template:C
- Independence Day
- Independence Day: Crucible
- Independence Day: Resurgence
- ↑ Independence Day: Official Novelization
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Independence Day: Crucible
- ↑ Aberly and Engel 1996, p. 32.