Republicans have accused the Biden family of corruption, which isn’t likely to come as a surprise. Joe Biden is just the latest White House resident to be accused of corruption or of betraying the American people’s trust.
And last year for "The Betrayal Issue," Politico offered an op-ed from Gwenda Blair, author of "The Trumps: Three Generations of Builders And A President," in which she noted that fact-checkers could make their careers tracking the lies of former President Donald Trump.
In addition to the lies, Blair noted that Trump has committed an untold number of betrayals that include extramarital affairs, failure to pay employees, and famously the firing of those in his own cabinet.
"It's a track record that would have sunk any other politician, at least before Trump's rise," Blair, adjunct professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, wrote in her op-ed, adding, "Trump is a virtuoso at playing the modern politics of grievance — of getting even and sowing discord and division, where loyalty is naïve and to be a leader you have to show your willingness to trample over anyone who gets in your way."
Betrayal at the Highest Level
Of course, Blair overlooked that Americans have long voted for those who have betrayed the nation's trust.
Trump may have been twice impeached, but it was only two decades earlier that President Bill Clinton also was impeached after lying under oath – and it is important to remember he also did so while a member of the bar. Clinton was, of course, only the second president to be impeached, after President Andrew Johnson.
It is true, too, that President Richard Nixon likely would have been impeached and then convicted in the subsequent Senate trial. The irony is that Nixon's black bag tricks to win re-election weren't necessary, as he won the 1972 campaign in one of the greatest landslides in history! Nixon, like Trump, was a hated politician – and both men could be fairly described as having insecure, narcissistic, paranoid personalities.
Nixon, Clinton, and Trump are just the latest three White House occupants to be caught up in such deep scandals – and there were others that were infamous in their day.
Other Bad Presidents
President Joe Biden has called the next election a battle for the soul of our nation, while critics of Trump have warned that he is a threat to democracy. Yet, it was nearly two centuries ago that there were fears when President Andrew Jackson took office. It should also be noted that his predecessor President John Quincy Adams so hated Jackson that he refused to attend the inauguration.
Adams apparently saw Jackson as a "profane, unprincipled demagogue; a would-be tyrant in the Napoleonic mode; a man with no respect for the checks and balances of the Constitution or the rule of law."
That sounds familiar.
Moreover, when Jackson left office, the country was plunged into a deep recession – the greatest at that point in the nation's short history.
Of course, things were far worse when President James Buchanan left the White House, as the nation was literally in the throes of a Civil War. Attempting to heal the divide, instead, every action he took only made matters worse. While he personally opposed slavery on moral grounds, he also believed that the Constitution supported the heinous institution. He also endorsed the Supreme Court's decision in the Dred Scott case, which ruled that Congress had no power to exclude slavery from any U.S. territory.
In the end, Buchanan famously alienated Northern Democrats, causing a split in the party that led to the secession of the Southern states. Buchanan betrayed the office and the American people.
Then there was President Warren G. Harding, whose legacy is an administration beset with scandals. With a sunny and personable demeanor, he was more like Clinton than Nixon. And like Clinton and Trump, Harding was also known for his womanizing. Hardening also appointed old pals and cronies, as well as his relatives, to his cabinet and other positions.
It didn't exactly work out.
Several were accused of corruption, while others were simply ignorant of the responsibilities of the offices they held. Harding is now remembered more for his scandals than anything he actually accomplished as president. Time will tell if the same will be said of Trump and Biden when historians look back at these two presidents.
Author Experience and Expertise
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.
Image Credit: Gage Skidmore.