The United States has had its fair share of terrible presidents. From leading us into needless wars to crippling our economy, these presidents have done lasting damage to our nation. Here are five of the worst presidents of the US.
5. Millard Fillmore
Born in a log cabin in New York, Millard Fillmore was the last president to be born before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He served as vice-president under Zachary Taylor and became president after Taylor’s death. Although he began his presidency with little controversy, he began making mistakes soon after.
Fillmore began what would become a persistent trend in US politics when he vetoed the Compromise of 1850, a bill that could have helped avoid the Civil War. This was just the beginning of his blunders, however.
In an unimaginable move, Fillmore purchased land from Mexico, land which would eventually be turned into New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and California. He signed the unpopular Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 and supported the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Fillmore also argued against anti-slavery and abolitionist movements and tried to deport all illegal immigrants (he used the term “waste people”).
4. Ronald Reagan
Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, is often credited with helping bring about the end of the Cold War. However, Reagan’s economic policies are widely considered to have crippled America for eight years and to have caused a recession that wouldn’t end until his successor was in office.
While his domestic policies were notably bad, it was Reagan’s foreign policy that brought us to new lows. Reagan’s nuclear weapons buildup was the first in the nation’s history, and he famously joked about bombing Russia during a speech before the National Association of Evangelicals. He also supported anti-communist militia groups throughout Central America, some of which were responsible for mass murders of civilians.
3. Andrew Johnson
After the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson became president. The former war governor of Tennessee had a tumultuous political career marked by partisan fighting and his impeachment (he was saved when one Republican voted not guilty for political reasons).
Johnson’s presidency was marked by infighting in the Republican Party, including fights with Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, himself a Johnson appointee.
Johnson also had an extremely poor understanding of Reconstruction, which he believed should be easy on the South because they were “loyal”. This led to racist policies that prevented blacks from voting and holding office.
2. George W. Bush
Bush was president during 9/11, which is kind of impressive when you think about it. After all, he did have a little help from his friends in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the latter of whom assisted with hiding Osama Bin Laden.
In addition to this massive failure, Bush also helped create ISIS by pulling US troops out of Iraq early on. He also cut taxes while simultaneously starting two wars—talk about adding insult to injury. While we’re on the subject, let’s not forget that we had troops in Saudi Arabia and Iraq during his presidency, and they’re still there now!
1. Donald Trump
Trump is our worst president. He hasn’t even been in office for a year yet, but he is already proving himself as one of the most corrupt and incompetent presidents of the US in history.
He has attacked the free press, has his kids running his businesses (and visiting the White House), routinely lies to the American people, keeps his military options close to his chest, argues with our allies while cozying up to dictators, failed miserably at repealing Obamacare and passed an extremely unpopular tax bill.
Ever since he took office, Trump has shown nothing but contempt for our democratic institutions. He refused to divest himself from his businesses—which means he is making foreign policy decisions based on what’s best for him financially. He fired former FBI Director James Comey when he wouldn’t drop the Russia investigation and he routinely attacks the free press to make himself look better.
Even though not all of these presidents are the worst in our country’s history, their policies and actions have had lasting negative impacts on America. Some were corrupt while others failed miserably at what they set out to do—but regardless, their faults contributed to making them some of the worst presidents of the US ever.