America Has Seen Far Worse Presidents Than Trump


By Henry Cohen, Contributing Writer

To those concerned that a Trump Presidency would spell the end of America as we know it, I offer this counterpoint: of the 44 men who have led this country so far, a good number of them were much worse people than Donald Trump. With Election Day looming menacingly around the corner, it’s useful to look back at some of the so-called deplorables of American history that the country was somehow able to survive.

One of the major complaints aimed at Trump is that he’s corrupt. From Trump University to the Trump Foundation to countless not-very-political donations, scandal has plagued Trump’s campaign almost as much as Twitter and bad spray tans. Consider, however, 29th President Warren G. Harding, known as one of the worst Presidents of all time. Harding is a President who — when he wasn’t busy writing steamy love notes to his neighbor’s wife — gave government jobs to his many corrupt friends, including men who would go on to accept bribes, run underground drug rings and perpetrate the infamous Teapot Dome Scandal. He did all this before dying halfway into his first term, a move that could easily have been the most honest action of his entire career.

Trump has also been frequently called — to put it nicely — an irredeemable, sexist pig. In light of the recently released Access Hollywood tape, it seems hard to believe that any past President could match Trump in terms of outrageousness. Unfortunately, it isn’t so. Our 36th President, Lyndon Johnson, was known for — in addition to ending segregation — taking press conferences on the toilet, openly peeing on the leg of a Secret Service agent and bragging that he’d bedded “more women accidentally than JFK did on purpose.” Trump wishes he could be that risque. To top it off, Johnson was once asked why America was still fighting in Vietnam. In response, he proceeded to present his privates to the journalist in question and cry, “This is why!” Classy.

The same can be said for any of Trump’s flaws to greater or lesser extents. Worried that Trump will deport all Mexicans? It can’t be worse than what Andrew Jackson did in the name of expanding America’s frontier. Concerned about Trump’s lack of political experience and cavalier attitude toward foreign affairs? Presidents like Ulysses S. Grant and Zachary Taylor went into office with quite literally no political experience whatsoever. The point of all this is not to downplay Trump’s many shortcomings, but to add a touch of perspective to the conversation. If Trump does win the Presidency come November, he will not be the worst man elected to that office, and the country will continue to survive under him, like it has always done.

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Email Henry Cohen at [email protected]