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Not the first unfit President

Harding killed unionist, Grant banned Jews and Jackson Murdered 4,000 Indians, what will Trump do?

Kate Hogan's picture
by Kate Hogan on
Dec 13, 2016

He is the Presidential-Elect with no filter. The type of man who is compelled to reveal all of the thoughts that pop into his head, usually through a string of upset tweets like a teenage girl who just broke up with her boyfriend of four months. He has started wars with everyone from Megyn Kelly, the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims, to the cast of Saturday Night Live. While Trump is a loudmouth, bigot, he is not the first President who has called for rounding up one group of people, who was ornery, who was hated by the establishment or who put his buddies in positions of authority, whether they were qualified or not.

Warren G. Harding was an interesting character. His presidency can be best summed up using his own words, “I am not fit for this office and should never have been here.” He often spent his days on the golf course and his nights at the poker table, even reportedly gambling away precious White House china. Much like Trump, Harding was a womanizing fool who went after whomever and what he wanted. He even went so far as to carry on a 14 year love affair with his German mistress.  On the topic of immigration, Harding supported restrictions that barred Italians and eastern European Jews. He swung widely on some big issues, taking strong moral stand points during his campaign, only to abandon them later on. Harding's speeches were so vague that it was usually impossible to tell where he stood on issues. Thanks to Harding’s strong pro-business policies, he faced numerous strikes throughout his term in office. During the Great Railroad Strike of 1922, the National Guard and private security sought to break the strike by firing on the striking workers as well as the women and children that were supporting them.  In total, 9 people were killed thanks to the aggressive actions of the National Guard.  While in office Harding appointed numerous friends and business associates to key positions in the administration, which led to numerous scandals

Another person who had some issues was Ulysses S. Grant. As a Major-General in the Union Army, Grant ordered the now infamous General Order No. 11, issuing the expulsion of all Jews in the military district under his authority. Jewish groups protested it, Grant’s own staff in the military objected, Congress vilified it, and the press had a field day at Grant’s expense. Fast-forward 150 years to our current predicament where Trump has created a campaign on the notion of deporting illegal immigrants. He even goes so far as to debate whether a database should be created to track Americans of the Muslim faith. The horrified response from the press, political establishment, and many public interest groups, is certainly comparable to its predecessor.

Of course, there’s Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson. He was an extremely controversial man who was quick tempered, showy, and self-publicizing. Although he had a great amount of personal wealth, he was the champion of “the little man”, like ordinary farmers, against the established political elite of the east coast. Jackson shocked the country when he came to power in 1828. Jackson was such a populist that at his inauguration so many people showed up to drink that the White House was severely damaged. Jackson also didn’t believe that he was bound by the constitution, by refusing to follow an order by the Supreme Court to push Cherokee Indians off their lands.  Jackson instead made a “deal” with a member of the Cherokee Nation, not seen as the actual leader, and then sent the military in to remove the Native Americans.  The removal, known as the Trail of Tears, led to the deaths of 4,000 Cherokee. Odd, no? Like Trump, he had won the most votes in the electoral college, but the elites saw him as a vulgar outsider, and often denounced him as being obnoxious.

America has been around for 240 years. It has seen the rise of both great and terrible presidents. Whatever happens over the next four years, America will survive it again but there will be shame.  There will be blood and he will be a great American embarrassment just like Jackson, Grant and Harding.    

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