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"I don't even hunt! This is all Greek to me."
―Sawyer on shooting guns.
James Sawyer
President James Sawyer in White House Down
Name: James William Sawyer
Gender: Male
Hair color: Black
Nationality: United State of America
Residence(s): Washington, D.C.
Affiliation: United State of America
Profession: President of the United States of America
Spouse(s): Alison
Children: One daughter
Status: Alive
Played by: Jamie Foxx
Film: White House Down

James Sawyer is the 46th President of the United States in White House Down.

He is portrayed by Jamie Foxx.

Character Biography[]

Displayed as a hip, intelligent man who wishes to pull America out of the middle east and eradicate poverty, which he sees as the root of all crime, Sawyer has America's best interests at heart although at times he can be a little too trusting.


James William Saywer is the current President of the United States, the first African American to hold the office. Saywer is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School, where he was president of the Harvard Law Review. He was a community organizer before earning his law degree. Saywer worked as a civil rights attorney. He served three terms representing the 13th District in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004, running successfully for the United States House of Representatives in 2000. Sawyer was a former Senator of Illinois, and ran for the Presidency in 2008, winning by a landslide, and was re-elected by the biggest Democratic Presidential landside than Franklin D. Roosevelt. Sawyer began to make plans regarding a worldwide peace treaty, to make it a better place and proving that he can be a great President.

White House taken[]

Screenshot 2014-03-23 at 12.25

President Sawyer in the helicopter.

On October 4, 2014, amid his plans for a worldwide peace treaty, President Sawyer returned to the White House, where he would soon meet Emily and John Cale, who were there for John's job interview for the United States Secret Service and then, the White House tour. After being informed by Emily that John had gotten the job and giving Emily a brief answer to a question, as well as a greeting for her YouTube page, Sawyer quietly whispered to John to stop lying to children, as he could tell that he didn't really get the job, before carrying on with his schedule.

The White House was soon attacked by a group of American mercenaries, led by Emil Stenz. President Sawyer was soon escorted by Martin Walker and other members of the Secret Service to the Oval Office. Walker soon concocted a plan to escort Sawyer to the Presidential bunker. After arriving at the bunker, Walker killed the other Secret Service members and informed Sawyer that he had been behind the attacks, for reasons relating to the death of his son, Kevin. However, Cale soon made his way to the bunker and rescued Sawyer from Walker's clutches.

Cale and Sawyer manage to reach out to command which tells Cale to get Sawyer out through underground tunnels. At the command center, Finnerty uses Emily's video to discover the mercenaries' identities, discovering that they used to work for various government agencies and radical political groups. They are informed that Stenz, a former Special Forces operative, was disavowed and burned on mission, leading to his capture by the Taliban, making his involvement one of retribution. They also discover that Walker has an inoperable tumor, suggesting his involvement to be a suicide mission and that the attack is not for ransom. Cale and Sawyer find the tunnel gate rigged with an explosive and are forced to escape with a presidential limousine. Cale and Sawyer are flipped into the White House pool and a gunfight erupts which results in an explosion that leaves Sawyer and Cale presumed dead. Hammond is then sworn in as President.

When Cale and Sawyer reveal they are still alive, they learn Hammond has approved an aerial incursion by Delta Force to take back the White House. Knowing the mercenaries have Javelin surface-to-air missiles, Cale tries but fails to stop the mercenaries from shooting down the helicopters. Cale gets into a fight with Stenz and ends up dropping his White House passes for himself and Emily while escaping. Having already learned of Emily from the video, Stenz, knowing that she is Cale's daughter, takes her to Walker in the Oval Office. Meanwhile, Tyler finishes the upload to NORAD and launches a missile at Air Force One, killing everyone on board, including Hammond. Raphelson is then sworn in as President and orders an air strike on the White House. Finnerty informs Cale of Raphelson's decision.

Walker tells Cale over the White House intercom to surrender Sawyer, or he will kill Emily. Sawyer ultimately surrenders himself to save Emily, knowing Cale could still save them if he was free. Walker reveals to Sawyer that his motive for the attack is to convey a message of American power. Because of Sawyer's dislike for military force, and his backing out of the mission that killed his son, Walker had grown to believe Sawyer was too weak to be president. By launching a nuclear assault on Iran, Walker hoped to regain international respect for America. However, Sawyer refuses to activate the football. When Walker threatens to kill Emily again, the alarms and sprinklers are set off by Cale setting various rooms on fire.

Sawyer attacks a distracted Walker, who ultimately gains the upper hand and uses Sawyer to activate the football before apparently shooting him dead. Using updated launch codes received by an anonymous source, Walker targets various cities in Iran, but before he initiates the launch, Cale crashes into the office in a presidential escort vehicle and kills Walker with a minigun. When Emily is told of the air strike, she takes a presidential flag and waves it on the front lawn and gets the fighters to call off the attack. Sawyer reveals himself to be alive as the bullet that hit him hit Abraham Lincoln's pocket watch his wife had given him. Finnerty calls them to reveal that the mercenaries were not called in by Walker and that there is another mastermind behind the attack. Cale realizes who it is and asks Sawyer for his help in exposing the traitor.

When Finnerty arrives at the White House with Raphelson, Cale tells them Sawyer was killed. Raphelson then orders troops to be placed back into the Middle East, which would go against Sawyer's peace treaty. Cale reveals Raphelson had orchestrated the attack because of Raphelson's disagreement with Sawyer's treaty and proves it by having Finnerty call the call-back number on Walker's pager. Sawyer then reveals himself and has Raphelson taken into custody, treating Raphelson's taking of the Presidency as a coup d'état. Sawyer officially employs Cale into the Secret Service and takes him and Emily on an aerial tour of Washington, D.C. on his way to the hospital.

Behind the scenes[]

  • President James Sawyer is a Democrat.
  • James Sawyer loved Abraham Lincoln and had a watch of his. Ironically, Lincoln's watch stopped Walker's bullet, saving his life.
  • Sawyer has an affinity for Air Jordan sneakers and uses Nicorette gum to quit smoking.


The character of James Sawyer has received some criticism from both sides of the political field for seeming to be based almost entirely on president Barack Hussein Obama. Jamie Foxx, who ad-libbed many of the character's memorable lines, has denied these allegations, although he has acknowledged that a few of the character's trademarks are references to the president, including nicorette gum and Air Jordans.

White House Down Characters
Heroes John Cale - President James Sawyer - Emily Cale
Villains Martin Walker - Emil Stenz - Eli Raphelson
Allies Carol Finnerty - Donnie the Guide - General Caulfield
Henchmen Skip Tyler - Carl Killick - Conrad Cern - Motts - Vadim - Mulcahy - Ritter - Bobby - Chen
Other characters Melanie - Muriel Walker - Alison Sawyer - Amber Sawyer