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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.
~ Eli Raphelson seemingly addressing his concern about the attack on the White House.
You know, you're not fit for office, you son-of-a-bitch!! You're selling this country out to the Arabs!! THIS ISN'T OVER!! I'VE GOT FRIENDS!!
~ Raphelson's last words as he is taken into custody for his crimes.

Eli Raphelson is the main antagonist of the 2013 epic action thriller film White House Down, serving as the corrupted Speaker of the House and the true mastermind behind the attack on the White House.

He was portrayed by Richard Jenkins.

Personality

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 gonna 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.
~ Raphelson showing his true nature to Cale after being exposed of his crimes.

During the course of the film, Raphelson was shown to be very encouraging and supportive towards President James Sawyer and DCPD Officer John Cale in general, but it wasn't until the very end of the film that his true colors were exposed: that of a scheming, malicious, corrupt, dishonest, treacherous, and conniving politician, willing to do anything to get what he wants, even it means resorting to genocide against many countries or betraying Sawyer to become the new President. He also didn't care much about losing his conspirators during his plot, as he considered them as merely tools to have outlived their usefulness to him; he even considered Martin Walker to be a "maniac", despite the latter's tragic loss of his son Kevin and the arrest of his wife Muriel.

After his true nature is exposed while being arrested for his crimes, Raphelson proved to be vengeful and manipulative, as he swore vengeance against Sawyer and Cale for foiling his plans.

Biography

After Cale saved his nephew's life from an IED explosion in Afghanistan, Raphelson seemingly felt bad for him, so he gave him a cushy job as a Capitol Policeman and his bodyguard. During the majority of the film, Raphelson seems to be a pretty solid and honest guy, affiliated with Carol Finnerty and President Sawyer during the takeover of the White House planned by Walker and a group of mercenaries led by Emil Stenz. Raphelson verbally opposed any of the US federal authorities' decisions on regaining the White House, being the only man making disagreements about this. The authorities could only comprehend Raphelson's arguments as illogical rather than backstabbing. Once Walker destroys Air Force One with Vice President Alvin Hammond and several Cabinet members on board, Raphelson was immediately promoted to becoming President of the United States and swore his oath in. Unbeknownst to everyone, Sawyer remained alive, thanks to the efforts of Cale himself.

However, it wasn't until the end of the film when he is revealed to be a ruthless mastermind, as he was the one who planned the attack on the White House and had Walker and Stenz do his dirty work in their attempt to take over the White House and hold Sawyer hostage. It is also revealed that Raphelson secretly (but strongly) disapproves the peace treaty that Sawyer had written up for many countries, believing that he is making their country vulnerable to foreigners. This led him into planning the attack to have Sawyer and Vice President assassinated, so that he can be sworn in as President himself.

During the climax, Raphelson secretly sends Walker the nuclear launch codes to activate the nuclear football for Raphelson's true plan: to lay down a series of attacks against various cities in Iran, which will result the retaliation of many countries and the start of World War III. Around the same time, Raphelson ordered an air strike on the White House seemingly to eradicate the threat, but his true intentions were to destroy any trace of evidence regarding to his true plan. However, Cale foiled this after killing Walker, Stenz, Skip Tyler and the remaining terrorists, and figured this out after looking upon Walker's pager. Also, Cale's daughter Emily manages to call off the air strike with a flag signal, as the pilots refuse to endanger a young girl's life.

When Raphelson arrived at the scene following the aftermath of the attack, Cale deliberately lied to him that Sawyer has been killed. Raphelson then revealed his plans to discontinue the peace treaty, but Cale confronted him with the information that he planned the entire attack to revoke the peace treaty and start World War III. Cale proves this by having Carol to dial the call-back number on Walker's pager, which then caused Raphelson's phone to ring, thus exposing him as a traitor and the real mastermind. Despite being exposed, an angry Raphelson threatened Cale by taunting him of the fact that the American citizens would never believe that their current President would help a group of psychopathic terrorists open a nuclear football against a country. However, overhearing this, Sawyer reveals himself to be alive and berates Raphelson for his actions, considering his taking of the Presidency as a coup d'teat. Without hesitation, Sawyer orders several soldiers to arrest Raphelson on the charges of conspiracy to mass murder, terrorism, treason, and crimes against humanity; all punishable by death.

As he is taken away to face trial for his crimes, Raphelson angrily accuses Sawyer of being unfit for office and making their country vulnerable to terrorism. He then swears revenge, saying that he's got friends to help him get back on Sawyer and Cale for this, only for Sawyer to retort that he will make sure all of them will meet Raphelson in prison if they try to do so. It is most likely that Raphelson will be convicted for his crimes against humanity and executed.

Trivia

  • Though Walker was the employer of the mercenaries and drove the plot of the story, Raphelson was the true main villain since he was the one who assigned Walker and the mercenaries into initiating the siege.
  • Eli Raphelson is an allegory and satire of real-life U.S. right-wing politicians who pursue military action towards the Middle East instead of diplomatic solution.