Idiots Guide: Infamous Presidential Sex Scandals

History is littered with the political corpses of powerful men who suffered from the endemic weakness of sexual impropriety. It is not difficult to find examples of this within the halls of political power and the political operatives who inhabit them. There is no shortage of Mayors, Congressmen, Senators, and the like, who have fallen prey to their lustful shortcomings. Once in a while, even the highest office in the world falls prey. This list highlights some of the worst sex scandals involving men who were either President of the United States at the time, or would later become the leader of the free world.

#5. President Warren G. Harding (R)  (March 4, 1921 – August 2, 1923) Warren Harding

Warren G. Harding was the 29th President of the United States, and one of the more popular presidents of his era. However, after his death many allegations of improprieties came to light. Including the ‘Teapot Dome’ scandal, as well as revelations of his torrid 15 year affair with Carrie Fulton Phillips, that was followed by his affair with Nan Britton, whose daughter, Elizabeth Ann Blaesing, Britton claimed to be Harding’s child.

#4. President Grover Cleveland  (D)  (March 4, 1893 – March 4, 1897) Grover Cleveland

Many Americans may not be aware about the sworn affidavit given by Maria Halpin detailing the events leading up to her sexual assault by Grover Cleveland, and the child born of that unholy union. An account that shed light on the alleged sexual assault perpetrated by a ‘persistent’ Cleveland in her downtown Buffalo, NY boarding room. An encounter that would today be considered ‘date rape’. Halpin reported that Cleveland threatened to ‘ruin’ her if she went public with these allegations.  Within two months she became aware that she was pregnant with his child. The child, Oscar Folsom Cleveland, was born in September of 1874 at a hospital for unwed mothers. Ms. Halpin was then, at Cleveland’s behest, thrown into the Providence Lunatic Asylum. Their son placed in the Buffalo Orphan Asylum. 19 years later Grover Cleveland became President of the United States. History has long forgotten Maria Halpin, if they ever knew about her at all. She died in 1902 at the of age 66, destitute with a name marred by scandal.

#3. President Thomas Jefferson (R)  (March 4, 1801 – March 4, 1809) Thomas-Jefferson

It has long been speculated (since 1802) that Thomas Jefferson had a sexual relationship with Sally Hemings, who was a house slave ‘belonging’ to the President. A sexual union that resulted in the procreation of up to six children on record. A DNA study/report from 1998-2000 by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation (TJF) concluded that there was a “high probability that Thomas Jefferson fathered Eston Hemings” one of Sally Hemings sons.  By extension this would infer that most of Heming’s other children were also Jeffersons. This issue adds a hint of moral complexity to the legacy of this founding father.

#2. President Bill Clinton (D)  (January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001)  Bill Clinton

For those of us who lived through it, the 1998 sexual scandal between then 49-year-old President Bill Clinton,  and his 22-year-old White House Intern, Monica Lewinsky was inescapable. The media circus surrounding the salacious details of the affair was ‘must see tv’ even if you didn’t care about the creative sexual implementation of cigars. The resulting investigation by the House of Representatives, and Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr became a dog and pony show. Leading to the controversial, and politically motivated impeachment of President Clinton.  At the end of the day Clinton was acquitted on all impeachment charges of perjury and obstruction of justice following a 21-day trial in the Senate. The bottom line is that President Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky was highly inappropriate. The resulting drama was extraordinary, taking the world for a long ride to nowhere.

#1. President John F. Kennedy (D) (January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963)john_f_kennedy

The legend of John Fitzgerald Kennedy in American lore is well documented and filled with the adoration and respect of millions of people world-wide. However, in accordance with many great men that came before him, and certainly after, he owned sexual skeletons. Kennedy’s illicit affair with celebrity icon Marylin Monroe was probably the worst kept secret of pre-information age history. There were others, including Marlene Dietrich, Judith Campbell Exner, and Angie Dickinson. What most people don’t know is the illicit relationship he had with a 19 year old White House intern named  Mimi Alford. Alford claims in her 2012 book “Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath”, that President Kennedy ‘took her virginity’, and had her perform sex acts with one of his aides in audience. Further allegations in the book include illegal drug use, and the President’s aide offering to secure an abortion for Alford when there was a pregnancy scare. Abortions being illegal at the time. Show me a powerful man, and I’ll point out which rock to turn over if you’re looking for dirt.