1921: The year America inaugurated its other worst president

Warren G Harding is usually at the bottom of the presidential ranking… until Donald Trump came along, that is, writes Andrew Naughtie

Wednesday 20 January 2021 00:00
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<p>Harding held office for two-and-a-half years before dying at the age of 57</p>

Harding held office for two-and-a-half years before dying at the age of 57

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Joe Biden’s presidency has been born under a bad sign – or rather, amid the largest and most urgent security risk to threaten an incoming president since the Civil War. With 25,000 troops stationed in the nation’s capital to protect it from an extremist insurrection, what’s coming may yet dwarf even the destructive spectacle of the Vietnam War and civil rights.

Does this make Donald Trump the worst president of all time? Many are already saying so. But for that title, he is competing with 44 other men – and by many historians’ reckoning, one of them in particular deserves the gong.

A hundred years ago, the US inaugurated Warren G Harding, who ultimately held office for two-and-a-half years before dying at the age of 57 – and who once summed up his presidency in a single sentence: “I am not fit for this office and should never have been here.”

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