Eli Raphelson
Status: Imprisoned (Alive)
Nationality: Flag of the United States American
Residence(s): Washington, D.C.,
United States of America
Affiliation: Martin Walker
Emil Stenz
Played by: Richard Jenkins
Film: White House Down
Appears in: 1 film
"Thank God you're alright! Where's the President?"
―Eli Raphelson to John Cale, faking concern for James Sawyer.

Eli Raphelson is an American politician who temporarily served as the "48th President of the United States" on October 4, 2014, during the White House Siege.

Raphelson is the Speaker of the House, along with also being the true main antagonist of the 2013 film White House Down.


After John Cale saved his nephew's life from an IED explosion in Afghanistan, Eli felt bad for him, so he gave him a cushy job as a Capitol Policeman and his security guard. He seems at first to be a pretty solid and honest guy, affiliated with Carol Finnerty and President James Sawyer, but it isn't until the end of the film when he is revealed as a traitor, assisting Martin Walker (the main antagonist of the film) and Emil Stenz in their attempt to take over the White House and hold President James Sawyer hostage.

It is also revealed that Eli secretly disapproves the peace treaty that Sawyer written up for many countries, believing that Sawyer is making their country vulnerable to terrorists. This led him into planning the attack to have both President James Sawyer as well as Vice President Alvin Hammond killed so that he can be sworn in as President himself. The assassination of Hammond was a success, but unbeknownst to everyone else, Sawyer remained alive thanks to the efforts of Cale.

During the climax, Eli sends Walker the nuclear launch codes to activate the nuclear football so that the latter can initiate a nuclear attack on major Iranian cities. Around the same time, Eli ordered an air strike on the White House seemingly to eradicate the threat, but also (and in his own intentions) to destroy any trace of evidence regarding to his true goals. However, John Cale and his daughter Emily foil Eli's plans, with John killing Walker and Emily waving the presidential flag to make the fighters call off the bombing.

When Raphelson arrived at the scene in the aftermath of the attack, John deliberately lied to him that Sawyer was killed. Eli then revealed his plans to discontinue the peace treaty, and it was at this point that Cale confronted him with the information that he arranged the whole attack to protect his friend's defense contracts and destroy the peace treaty. John proves this by having Carol to dial the call-back number on Walker's pager, which then caused Eli's phone to ring, thus exposing him as the traitorous architect of the White House Siege.

With his true personality exposed, an angry Eli threatened John, taunting him of the fact that the people would never believe that their current President would help a group of psychopathic terrorists open a nuclear football. However, overhearing this, Sawyer reveals himself to be alive to Eli, and berates Raphelson for his actions, considering Eli's taking of the Presidency as a coup d'teat. Without hesistation, Sawyer orders several soldiers to arrest Eli on the charges of conspiring to commit mass murder, terrorism, crimes against humanity, and treason. As he is taken away to face trial for his crimes, Eli angrily accuses Sawyer of being unfit for office and making the United States vulernable to terrorism. Raphelson then swears revenge, saying that he's got friends to help him get back on Sawyer for this, only for Sawyer to retort that he will make sure all of Eli's friends will meet him in prison if they try to do so.

Personality Edit

At first glance, Eli seemed to be supportive of James Sawyer, Carol Finnerty, and John Cale. He also seemed to be a solid, honest person, being the only one willingly voicing opposition to the decisions made by the authorities in their attempts to take back the White House. However, this opposition could also be seen as foreshadowing his true personality because unbeknownst to anyone else, he strongly disagreed with President Sawyer's plan for peace.

It wasn't until the final minutes of the film that he was exposed as a scheming, arrogant, malicious, conniving, corrupt, and treacherous politician who is more than willing to commit crimes in order to get what he wants. His sinister actions in the movie imply that he believes that only measures such as military presence and preemptive nuclear strikes are effective in preventing extremists in the Middle East from infiltrating America.

Being a ruthless mastermind, Raphelson is also shown to be selfish, as he viewed his co-conspirators as being nothing more than tools, demonstrated when he outright calls Walker a "maniac" despite the fact that he lost his son Kevin. Since one of his motives for orchestrating the terrorist takeover was to "keep [his] buddies in the defense industry happy," it can be inferred that he is also a greedy person.

When it is discovered that he is the one behind the attack on the White House, Eli revealed that when anyone foiled his plans, he swore to enact vengeance on them. This negative quality is seen when Raphelson is taken into custody, during which he shouts angrily that he has friends who will exact revenge on Sawyer, suggesting that he is hot-tempered as well.

Quotes Edit

  • "Carol, we have to end this. We have to. What if the next missile that he launches is aimed at Chicago or New York? We're talking about millions of lives."
  • "Doesn't prove anything. Two old guys used old technology, so what?"
  • "You dim little shit! I hired you out of pity, and this is how you repay me? But, you know tomorrow, when people find out that your precious President helped a maniac open a nuclear football, who do you think they're going to believe? You or me? Well, let's see. Now you? You would be a nobody. But me? I'm the President of the United States."
  • "You know, you're— you're not fit of office, you— son of a bitch! You're selling this country out to the Arabs! This isn't over! I'VE GOT FRIENDS!"

Behind the Scenes Edit

Eli Raphelson was portrayed by Richard Jenkins in White House Down.

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