We talked recently about a few truly weird things that some American Presidents did or believed, but you guys…there are so many more, I just couldn’t leave them in the cupboard. No. When men of power and prestige are this willingly odd, you have to put all of that shit on the table.
So, without further ado, here are 10 more delicious weirdos who once ran the free world.
10. Abraham Lincoln
According to contemporaries, Lincoln had a voice that was “shrill, squeaking, piping, unpleasant.” That doesn’t go with the austere image I had in my mind at all (though there was also an episode of Drunk History that made similar claims, if I recall).
9. Dwight Eisenhower
Because he had aides and assistants from the early 1940s until the end of his presidency, Eisenhower was curiously baffled by a dial tone, and had no idea how to actually work a telephone. It makes sense, I guess, but it also reminds me of my grandmother not understanding why MY Facebook stories aren’t on her wall, et al.
8. George Washington
America’s first general was actually…not that good at doing war. He wasn’t great at strategy, and did quite a lot of retreating. His successes, it seems to me, were largely a result of his fearlessness, and maybe divine intervention, if you believe in that sort of thing.
7. Thomas Jefferson
6. Grover Cleveland
In a story reminiscent of Woody Allen in the worst possible way, Grover Cleveland married young (very young) Frances Folsom…a woman he helped raise after her father passed away unexpectedly. He was not her legal guardian or stepfather (which makes it better, I suppose?), but he was invested in her future and involved in her life from the time her father died, when Frances was just 9 years old, and Grover Cleveland was 36.
5. John Quincy Adams
We’ve talked about this in some detail on another post, but old John Q believed in a hollow Earth that may or may not have been populated by mole people.
Yes. Mole people.
He even greenlit an expedition to the mystical center of the Earth that was (thankfully) vetoed by some politicians who were clearly of more sound mind than the yahoos we’ve elected today.
4. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
3. James Garfield
This poor bloke died from a series of mishaps, beginning with a bullet to the abdomen (not a mishap, technically, but a crime). In an effort to locate the bullet for extraction, doctors turned to a new invention from Alexander Graham Bell – a metal detector. Unfortunately, they didn’t quite think things through (as in, the thing detects all metal, not only bullets) and cut the poor, ailing president in multiple places because he was lying atop metal bed springs, and not holding a bullet hostage.
Garfield died of an organ laceration and an infection brought on by multiple incisions (and presumably, filthy digging doctor hands). Germ theory was, at the time, still in its infancy though, so try not to judge them too harshly.
Or do. Charles Guiteau, the assassin, certainly did, saying (before he hanged): “The doctors killed Garfield. I just shot him.”
2. Ulysses S. Grant
Old Ulysses was surprisingly squeamish, for a general. He hated the sight of blood to the point that he refused to eat meat that wasn’t charred. He wasn’t fond of war, either, or of killing or guns, and he never killed an animal if he could help it.
He was also shy and, as we’ve written about in the past, didn’t like for people (even his wife) to see him naked.
1. Warren G. Harding
He had a gambling problem, despite claiming to be a devout Baptist. Harding even once bet (and lost) the White House china during a poker game.
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