Political sex scandals are as old as time. For centuries -– eons really -– power has been proven to be the ultimate aphrodisiac. Indeed, from Caesar and Cleopatra to King Henry VIII and the headless bodies of his many wives, sex scandals have rocked the civilized world. Of course, our very own Presidents have etched their names into the annals of those renowned historical texts like Penthouse and Hustler, proving yet again that even the rich and powerful –- or maybe especially the rich and the powerful –- are prey to the whims of their, uh, little Presidents. The following is a list of eight US Presidents who failed to veto the legislation put before them by the legislature, and by the legislature, I of course mean their penises.
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WHO WAS SHE? Edith Bolling Galt, a widow.
THE STORY: In 1914, old Woody found himself a lonely old widower after his first wife, Ellen, died in August. Less than a year later, he was engaged to the widow Edith Bolling Galt. Sounds rather ordinary, right? Not so fast. Unfortunately for Wilson, he was the President of the United States and therefore had the civilized world constantly up his ass over every little thing he did. And, unfortunately for Wilson, that civilized world tended to frown upon getting hitched so soon after the death of his first wife. Predictably, it wasn’t long before all sorts of rumors flew around about Wilson cheating on his first wife before she died and some people even suggested that he killed her to clear the path so he and Edith could be together. Damn.
THE AFTERMATH: Wilson was president, not some schmuck, and so he married Edith anyway, presumably while holding a giant middle finger aloft for all his critics to see. The couple stayed together until his death in 1924 and after Wilson suffered a stroke in 1919, Edith actually took over many of his duties, acting as sort of a regent for the incapacitated president. I guess that shut some people up.
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WHO WAS SHE? Kay Summersby, Eisenhower’s driver during World War II.
THE STORY: Apparently, during World War II, General Eisenhower fell for his driver, Kay Summersby, and began a long and passionate affair. Some would say that the married Eisenhower acted irresponsibly, but how could a man like him resist the romantic overtures of a temptress who was obviously proficient at working a stick like his driver, Ms. Summersby? Just imagine sitting by her side, day by day, watching her work, while bombs and dead people and severed limbs and Nazis flew all around. Who could resist with that kind of romance in the air? Not our man Ike, that’s for damn sure.
THE AFTERMATH: The affair was kept secret and Eisenhower rode the wave of his wartime fame and popularity to two terms as president. Eventually, though, Eisenhower’s wandering lil’ Ike was revealed by Summersby when she decided to cash in on their affair with the book Past Forgetting: My Love Affair With Dwight D. Eisenhower, published six years after Ike kicked the bucket, but four years before his wife, Mamie, went to the Great Gig in the Sky, which meant that she got to spend her golden years reading about her husband hounding around Europe while she was back home praying for his safe return. Good times!
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WHO WAS SHE? Lucy Mercer, his wife’s secretary; Princess Martha of Norway; and Missy LeHand, FDR’s personal secretary. Phew!
THE STORY: Apparently, even though FDR’s legs didn’t work, his third leg worked just fine. In fact, it seems to have picked up the slack of the other two as Roosevelt went from boning Mercer, his wife Eleanor’s secretary, to LeHand, his own secretary, to Princess Martha of Norway while the princess was a guest at the White House during World War II. It is believed that starting in 1916, Eleanor cut FDR off from sex and well, the man had a lot of stress to relieve, you know? At least he was able to find a way to combat his own Great Depression.
THE AFTERMATH: All of Roosevelt’s alleged affairs were kept secret until after his death but that doesn’t mean that he stopped any of them. In fact, Mercer was with FDR at his death in 1945, meaning that he stretched that affair alone for almost thirty years. His son, Elliott, in a book published in 1973, claimed that his father’s affair with LeHand lasted twenty years until she died of a stroke in 1944. Meanwhile, the affair with Princess Martha was never proven but that didn’t stop Washington gossip hounds from flapping their gums about it anyway until the war ended and the princess went back to Norway. Hey, who needs to walk when you’re always on your back?
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WHO WAS SHE? Maria Halpin, a store clerk.
THE STORY: A decade before ol’ Grover decided to run for president, Halpin named him as the father of her bastard son. Cleveland accepted that he had failed to wrap it up and tried to move on with his life. But then Halpin started drinking heavily so Cleveland had her committed to an insane asylum (!) and had the boy sent to an orphanage. Faster than you can say John Edwards’ love child, things went from bad to worse as Halpin got out of the nuthouse and Cleveland paid her $500 to get the hell out of town and shut up while the kid was placed with an adoptive family. Good thing he didn’t have any political aspirations or anything, right? Yeah, about that...
THE AFTERMATH: Somehow, old Grover thought he could sail to the presidency without that sordid business coming up, but of course a Buffalo newspaper uncovered the story during the 1884 election and his opponents began chanting “Ma, ma, where’s my pa? Gone to the White House, ha ha ha!” What can I say, it was a simpler time and chant science was still rudimentary. Anyway, Cleveland chose not to fight it and even though his reputation took a huge hit, he still won the election since his opponent, James G. Blaine, was rocked by his own corruption scandal. The bastard son ended up becoming a doctor after getting adopted and as for Ms. Halpin? Hell, I don’t know, let’s say she was abducted by aliens or joined the circus or something.
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WHO WAS SHE? Carrie Phillips, the wife of a friend of his; and Nan Britton, who was thirty years younger than him.
THE STORY: The original Warren G was bringing his ladies to the Eastside Motel long before Dr. Dre’s little brother started doing his thing. A compulsive adulterer, Warren G’s most famous sex scandals involved Phillips, the friend of his wife and with Britton, who claimed she became obsessed with Harding when she was still in high school and ended up banging him all over the White House. The Phillips affair supposedly went on for fifteen years and produced a mountain of steamy letters that have been sealed by court order until 2024, when I’m guessing they will be published in Hustler. According to Britton herself, their affair went on for years, including while Warren G was in the White House. This affair allegedly produced a daughter, Elizabeth Ann and also stories about Warren G boning Nan repeatedly in a White House broom closet. It cannot be confirmed that Warren then smoked weed with Nate Dogg in the Lincoln bedroom.
THE AFTERMATH: Harding’s presidential career was a disaster, loaded with corruption scandals which have plagued him for decades following his death. Nobody seemed to care that he was an inveterate manwhore or that he supposedly had illegitimate kids running around or that he was banging chicks in a broom closet while dignitaries waited for him downstairs, but I guess it was just a nobler time. In 1927, four years after his death –- there were rumors that Harding’s own wife poisoned him, which let’s face it seem pretty reasonable here –- Britton wrote a tell-all book, The President’s Daughter, which accused him of fathering her child and laid out all the salacious details of their affair, broom closet buggerings and all. But since Harding was a crappy president and also shady as hell, no one was really surprised.
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WHO WAS SHE? A better question would probably be “Who wasn’t she?” In any case, the most famous one is Marilyn Monroe.
THE STORY: Who doesn’t know the story here? JFK was a legendary horndog who boned a bunch of different women not named Mrs. Kennedy, including Monroe and Judith Exner, who was also linked to several high ranking members of the mob. The most iconic JFK Can’t Keep It In His Pants moment is undoubtedly the famous scene of Marilyn Monroe singing him happy birthday to him in her breathy little pout that was dripping with sex in front of his whole family.
THE AFTERMATH: Our modern day Camelot was tainted by all sorts of lewd tales, but I guess that makes a certain sort of sense considering the love triangle madness that went on in the original Camelot between King Arthur, Guinevere and Sir Lancelot, although let’s be honest, I don’t remember Lancelot boning Guinevere, handing her off to his brother and then her ODing on pills after they both turned their back on her. Then again, maybe that was left out of the original Arthur legend. Who knows? Had Kennedy lived, his biggest fight probably wouldn’t have been his reelection campaign of 1964 but against the syphilis and all manner of STDs he would have eventually caught due to his rampant manwhoring. His final speeches would have gone from “Ask not what your country can do for you...” to “Why does it burn when I pee?”
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WHO WAS SHE? All of them.
THE STORY: Like his hero, JFK, good ol’ Bill just couldn’t keep it in his pants. From Gennifer Flowers to Paula Jones to Monica Lewinsky, it seemed like Clinton was always fighting off wild stories about his womanizing ways. The most famous, of course, is Lewinsky, whose infamous spooge covered blue dress is one of the cultural icons of the 1990’s. Come on, it’s true and you know it. In addition, Clinton can never smoke a cigar again for the rest of his life without people laughing at him and imagining him diddling Lewinsky with it. That one huge affair, which led to his impeachment, overshadows all the other affairs which served as tabloid fodder for a whole decade, which is impressive when you consider that they include him being sued for sexual harassment by Jones while he was President and all manner of crazy and sordid rumors. Seriously, if reports come out in classified documents revealed 100 years from now that Clinton had almost caused an intergalactic war by screwing the daughter of some space emperor after aliens made first contact would anyone be that surprised? “I did not have sexual relations with that alien squid lady.” Whatever you say, Mr. President.
THE AFTERMATH: Clinton survived his many scandals, his impeachment, and also the giant novel sized porno written by Kenneth Starr detailing the Lewinsky affair, because while he was president, the country was actually prosperous, the budget was balanced and we seemed to be embarking upon an era of unprecedented peace. His approval ratings kept climbing even though everyone knew that the only thing he was climbing was a mountain of interns. Sure, a segment of the population hates Clinton, but they would hate him no matter what. To most of the country, his presidency is looked upon with fondness and in the last decade, strange and terrible as it has been, one of the most popular sayings has been “Hey, remember when the worst thing we had to worry about was the President getting a blow job in the Oval Office?” Great, now I feel sad. And also oddly aroused.
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WHO WAS SHE? Sally Hemings, his slave.
THE STORY: In a bit of an upset, Jefferson takes the top spot on this list and that’s because, really, it’s hard to comprehend that not only did the President of the United States own another human being for the purpose of forcing them to work for him but he also boned one of them, fathered her child, and no one cared. Indeed, it is generally accepted as fact now what had been long, long suspected, and that is that Thomas Jefferson was the father of Hemings’ six children. Complicating matters even further was that Hemings was actually the half-sister of Jefferson’s wife, being the offspring of an affair that Jefferson’s father-in-law had with his own slave, meaning that Jefferson fathered children with a woman who was not only his slave but his sister-in-law, which I think means, if I do the math correctly here, that Jefferson may have been both his childrens’ father and their uncle. But what the hell, they did live in the South and I suppose those were different times. Much different.
THE AFTERMATH: Jefferson went on to become the third President of the United States and today is viewed as one of America’s preeminent founding fathers. He’s the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence. But honestly, it’s kind of hard to fathom that a man who is renowned for being one of the great fathers of liberty not only owned another human being, he then used that human being as a humping post. It’s not like she could say no. Good Lord. Oh well, at least Jefferson freed their children after they were born even though he never saw fit to give Hemings her own freedom since she probably would have, you know, left the old white man who she had to either screw or risk getting whipped. I know this is supposed to be funny and I should probably make with the Jungle Fever jokes, but damn, this is messed up, right? Oh well, if nothing else, I guess this just proves that Jefferson was a trailblazer after all – first in freedom, first in presidential debauchery and first on this list. Congrats, Tom, you horny old goat.
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(Previously published on February 21, 2011.)