James Monroe once chased his secretary of treasury around the white house with a pair of fire tongs.
William Crawford (secretary of treasury) called on James Monroe at the White House to suggest a list of appointments for patronage recommendations he wished the President to consult upon. However, Monroe objected to Crawford’s list and said that he intended to make his own. Crawford lost his cool and snapped at the President, “Well, if you will not appoint persons well-qualified for the places, tell me whom you will appoint that I may get rid of their opportunities!” he then demanded to know who he was going to appoint. The President was not intimidated by Crawford then replying: “Sir, that is none of your damn business.“ Crawford was also not easily intimidated, either (he killed a man in a duel years earlier). Monroe’s remark led Crawford to charge at the 67 year old President with his cane, waving it at Monroe while calling him a “damned infernal old scoundrel.” Monroe was quick to grab TWO RED HOT tongs from a nearby fireplace for self-defense and when he threatened to personally throw Crawford out of the White House and the secretary did not comply, Monroe proceeded to chase him out of the executive mansion WITH THE FIRE TONGS.