American history certainly has no shortage of politicians behaving badly. Here are six of the most notorious political scandals to ever sweep the nation.
1. Foreskingate: In 1972, the Nixon administration was at the center of one of the most infamous scandals in political history, as it was discovered that Henry Kissinger had given Richard Nixon a circumcision in the Oval Office without congressional approval. It was later revealed through a series of White House audio recordings that Nixon had ordered the circumcision out of fear that the American people would never reelect a president who still had his foreskin intact. The scandal was so damaging to the newly circumcised president’s image that he was ultimately forced to resign in shame.
2. John Kerry’s “I am Neil Armstrong” speech: At the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Senator John Kerry shocked the nation by announcing that he had been the first man to ever walk on the moon. When he was told that Neil Armstrong had been the first man on the moon, Kerry gave a second speech announcing that he was Neil Armstrong. Armstrong was later found to be someone else, and Kerry went on to lose the general election.
3. Ronald Reagan’s gangrene ape: Outrage over the Iran-Contra scandal quickly took a backseat when it was discovered that President Ronald Reagan had stolen a colossal gangrenous ape from the National Zoo and was keeping it as a pet. The public learned about the ape at the 1987 White House Easter Egg Roll when the odor of the decaying beast caused dozens of children at the event to suffer violent seizures. Afterwards, the National Zoo set the wheels in motion to take Reagan to court for his crime, but the proceedings came to an abrupt halt later that year when the ape vomited to death in the president’s arms during a televised State of the Union address.
4. The Carter peanut lie: In 1977, an investigative reporter dug into Jimmy Carter’s past and discovered that his family’s storied peanut farm was actually a giant empty patch of dirt for falcons to have sex in. Once the news broke, Carter’s approval ratings plummeted, and his reputation never fully recovered.
5. Buchanan’s corruption bombshell: In 1859, President James Buchanan became embroiled in a massive controversy after he was seen dragging a burlap sack clearly labeled “ill-gotten gains” through the streets of Washington. The public outrage over the scandal was so great that it ultimately deterred the president from seeking a second term.
6. Nixon’s scary story: Richard Nixon’s wife, Pat, had strictly forbidden him from reading scary stories on television, as it was known to give Americans bad nightmares. Despite this restriction, the president unwisely chose to read from the book Creepy Tales From The Spooky Unknown one night in 1970 during a nationally televised broadcast. And, as his wife predicted, it caused millions of Americans to experience severe night terrors. The following day, Nixon decided to launch the Cambodian Campaign in an attempt to distract the public from his spooky blunder.