When it comes to debating the best and worst political leaders of the United States, many lists vary and it is often due to political preferences, but there are some presidents who many can agree are the worst of a bad batch. From extramarital affairs and fraud to general incompetence, these presidents have done it all, and then some. Here’s a list of American presidents who didn’t live up to the expectation.
1. U. S. Grant
According to many, Ulysses S. Grant’s administration was one of the most corrupt in the history of America’s politics. It was so bad that the term “Grantism” was created to describe his “political incompetence, corruption and fraud.” Some of the biggest scandals that occurred during his presidency included “Black Friday” – an attempt by his brother-in-law and partners to corner the gold market and increase prices. It also included the “Whiskey Ring” – where over 100 federal officials were caught selling discounted whiskey stamps to distillers. The president chose to shield his personal secretary’s involvement, causing many to lose trust in him. Lastly, although there were many more, the “Indian Ring” – involved Grant’s Secretary of War taking bribes from companies to get licenses that allowed them to trade on reservations. What made things worse for Grant was his failure to address the issues.
2. Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson became the President of the United Stated in 1963 shortly after the loss of John F. Kennedy. His reputation as a calculated politician is one of the reasons why conspiracy theorists believe that he was somehow involved in JFK’s demise, but that’s for another article. Records show that Johnson’s misdemeanors go way back to the senate democratic primary where he was accused of having absent voters added to his tally. Later in life when Johnson was having difficulty securing a life insurance policy because of existing health problems, he forced Don Reynolds to not only sell him one, but he also made him buy advertising time on his wife’s radio station in addition to buying lavish gifts. Reynolds was later investigated by the feds.
3. Bill Clinton
Throughout and even before Bill Clinton’s presidency, his political career has been engulfed in scandal eventually leading to his impeachment. Between the 1980s and 1998, the president was accused of misconduct against at least three women, one of whom he settled by paying $850,000 and never admitting his guilt. By the time the Monica Lewinski affair rolled around, much of the population had lost faith in him. It is estimated that the investigation into their relationship cost the administration $80 million and although he survived the impeachment, he lost his law license for five years and he was then disbarred from practicing before the United States Supreme Court.
4. Warren Harding
Warren Harding may have only been the President of the United States for two years, but that was enough time for him to leave a legacy marked by extramarital affair and appointing several friends as cabinet members which made them extremely wealthy. The Teapot Dome Scandal landed his secretary of the Interior in prison and while there were many others, including his Attorney General selling pardons, Harding never did anything to put an end to his friends’ exploits. It was also revealed that Harding had several mistresses, one of whom he had a child with, much to his denial.
5. Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson, the 7th president of the United States is on this list for several reasons. Not only was he responsible for the death of Charles Dickinson, but Jackson was described by many as a person who had a “sometimes savage temper”. Apart from personality issues, Jackson was responsible for the displacement of the Cherokee from many states to Oklahoma. Not only did thousands die during the move, but Jackson did so illegally even after the Supreme Court ruled against him.
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