Top 10 Worst United States Presidents

The United States has seen some great leaders over the years who have made significant contributions to the country's progress and development. However, not all presidents have lived up to the expectations of the people, and some have even been deemed disastrous. From failed policies and scandals to questionable leadership and ethical lapses, the presidency has seen its fair share of controversial and widely criticized individuals.

Some of these presidents may have good qualities and accomplishments, but their negative impact on the country and their lack of leadership skills make them worthy of this list. From the early days of the nation to modern times, these presidents left a lasting mark on history, and not in a positive way.
The Top Ten
1 George W. Bush George W. Bush's administration faced failures in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks, particularly in the handling of the Iraq War. The war was controversial and deeply divisive, and many criticized the Bush administration's handling of the conflict. Additionally, Bush's administration was criticized for its response to Hurricane Katrina, which many felt was inadequate and slow.

There's the Iraq War and all its accompanying disasters (torture, undermining civil liberties, mishandling Afghanistan). Not only did he not confront climate change, but his policies arguably made it worse. His job creation record is one of the worst in modern history, which is almost separate from the fact that he sat by idly as the global economy fell apart in 2008.

He's so unpopular that even his own party acts as though he was never actually president. He lost his race for re-election, his handling of the economy was not great, and he was a nasty and divisive campaigner.

It's more than okay to agree that he was behind 9/11 the whole time in my opinion, for the simple fact that he was coincidentally reading a story to an elementary school right before and during the tragedy while it was taking place. A completely despicable excuse for existence, I'd say he is.

2 James Buchanan James Buchanan's administration is widely considered to be one of the least successful in American history. Buchanan failed to effectively address the issue of slavery, which was a major source of division in the country at the time. He also faced criticism for his handling of the secession crisis, which ultimately led to the outbreak of the Civil War.

Anyone who thinks Obama is the worst president is obviously biased for several reasons. The most obvious one is that he is the current president, and since Nixon's time, it has been fashionable to criticize the sitting president. I don't think he's a great president, but at least he didn't let the nation fall apart under him.

Enter James Buchanan, who practically let slavery spread and did nothing to prevent the Confederacy from forming. Luckily, we had Lincoln afterward, or else the United States wouldn't be the same.

3 Barack Obama Barack Obama's administration faced failures in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The rollout of the healthcare website was marred by technical glitches, leading to public frustration and criticism. Additionally, Obama's administration failed to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and faced criticism for its drone strike policy.

I'm so sick of hearing that he hasn't done anything because of Republicans in Congress. That is the lamest liberal talking point ever. Don't forget he had a Democratic House and Senate his first two years in office and still didn't accomplish anything.

And what does he care about what Congress does? Have you seen how many Executive Orders he's signed? He does whatever he wants anyway.

Every single measurable factor by which Presidents are judged is far worse than it was when he took office. I said the day he was elected that his mission would be to destroy this country and he's pretty much accomplished that! By far, the absolute worst President in our history!

4 Andrew Johnson Andrew Johnson's administration faced failures in the aftermath of the Civil War. Johnson faced significant opposition from Congress over his plans for Reconstruction, and his vetoes of key legislation led to a breakdown in the relationship between the executive and legislative branches of government. Johnson was also impeached by the House of Representatives, though he was ultimately acquitted by the Senate.

I find it honestly hilarious that people say Trump is the worst president ever. Meanwhile, we had this stubborn person in office who refused any compromise that led to African Americans being held back from their rights for generations. Vetoing the laws that gave black people basic human rights is apparently not as bad as Trump's regular policies that have non-controversially been put in place in the past.

Andrew Johnson has to be the worst US President this country has ever had, and if you know your history, you will agree. First, he wasn't even elected. He was VP when Lincoln (who could be our best President or at least top 3) was assassinated.

He was the first president to be impeached. After the Civil War, when the country was in shambles and violent riots and revolts were popping up all over the country, he did more to extend the period of national disunity and contention than he did to heal the wounds of the war and the overall state of the country.

Also, I do not believe Obama should be rated the number one worst president. Don't get me wrong, I do not think he is a good president, but there are definitely worse presidents in our history.

5 Donald Trump Donald Trump's administration faced failures in several areas, including the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was widely criticized for its lack of preparedness and ineffective response. Trump's administration was also marked by several high-profile legal and ethical controversies, such as the Russia investigation and the impeachment proceedings. Additionally, Trump's administration faced widespread criticism for its immigration policies and divisive rhetoric.

There have been several bad presidents, but Donald Trump is the worst ever by a large margin. This guy is racist, homophobic, rude, stupid, immature, and irresponsible, just to name a few of his "qualities". The wall he promised to build and then have paid for by Mexico was never completed.

His irresponsible, immature, and dishonest response and attitude towards Covid-19 caused panic and was a direct result of over 1 million Americans dying from the pandemic. His supposed "tax cut" benefited only the wealthy. There are those who question Biden's age. Trump is only a few years younger but acts like a petulant child. It would be better for our country to have someone younger to run it.

I would never, ever vote for Trump, but I could vote for Nikki Haley. If it's Biden vs. Trump, I'll go with Biden every time.

6 Richard Nixon Richard Nixon's administration was marred by the Watergate scandal, which ultimately led to his resignation. Nixon's administration was accused of multiple illegal activities, including the cover-up of a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters. The scandal led to widespread public distrust of the government and damaged the reputation of the presidency.

Everyone thinks the U.S. government is terrible thanks to him. He wanted to extend the Vietnam War, resulting in lots of deaths, war crimes, and killings in Vietnam throughout the late '60s and early '70s. He was also absolutely racist and sexist.

He was even an anti-Semite, disrespecting Jewish Americans. Even though I am not a political person, I still think Nixon is the worst president the USA ever had, but he did show a lighter side as he helped Apollo 13 get into space.

Nixon was a liberal Republican whom we can, in large measure, thank for the massive trade deficit we now suffer with China. But as to who hacks what and who helped whom, the visitor knows nothing about history or recent events. Nixon's crime was not the break-in at the Watergate Hotel, of which he knew nothing. It was in the cover-up after the fact. And you're clearly confused regarding who did what during the 2016 election.

7 Andrew Jackson Andrew Jackson's administration faced criticism for its treatment of Native Americans, particularly the forced removal of the Cherokee people from their ancestral lands on the Trail of Tears. Jackson's administration was also marked by controversy over the national bank and his use of executive power. Additionally, Jackson's personal and political conflicts with members of Congress and other political leaders contributed to a divisive political climate.

The Indian Removal Act was a despicable act by a man who was unequivocally racist and destroyed Native Americans, driving them out of their own land. Despite the unethical nature of his actions, we must acknowledge the complexity of having a nation within a nation. It is clear that displacing the natives was wrong, but the argument for American expansion was prioritized.

The justification for expansion, worse than the concept of Manifest Destiny, suggested divine permission to eradicate others in the name of growth. Andrew Jackson, despite being a morally reprehensible individual and known for his excessive drinking, paradoxically contributed to America's growth. This makes him not only a significant but also a controversial figure in history. Despite his actions, it is difficult to label him as simply a bad president because of his impact on the country's expansion. However, he undoubtedly ranks at the top of the list of morally corrupt presidents.

8 Herbert Hoover Herbert Hoover's administration was marked by the Great Depression, which began shortly after he took office. Hoover's response to the economic crisis was widely criticized as ineffective, and his reluctance to intervene in the economy exacerbated the suffering of millions of Americans. Additionally, Hoover's foreign policy was criticized as ineffective, particularly in relation to Japan and the worsening situation in Europe.

Herbert Hoover's policies significantly contributed to the Black Tuesday stock market crash in October 1929, catalyzing a global economic depression that lasted until the mid-1950s. The U.S. saw several presidents during this recovery period, including Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and to some extent, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

It is lesser known that the collective efforts of these leaders were necessary to restore the U.S. economy to its pre-Great Depression standing. Hoover's legacy is closely tied to the economic downturn, highlighting the profound impact presidential decisions can have on global economics.

9 Warren G. Harding Warren G. Harding's administration was marked by several scandals, including the Teapot Dome scandal, where government officials leased federal oil reserves to private companies in exchange for bribes. Harding's administration was also criticized for its handling of labor strikes, with many accusing the administration of being anti-union.

Certainly, Harding was not a great man or great leader. However, his administration did something very significant for which it has been forgotten: it shortened the length of the deflationary depression of 1920-21 primarily by issuing debt-free silver coins to circulate among the people. Just look at the circulation of silver dollars for 1921 versus most of the earlier twentieth century.

Following WWI, America needed a financial boost, and the Harding administration provided it. This contrasts starkly with Hoover's and FDR's Keynesian mishandling of matters that fueled the Great Depression a decade later. The claims that Harding caused the Great Depression are without foundation.

The Great Depression was caused by too much credit and the withdrawal of that credit, the opposite of the issuance of hard money, which Harding championed. Though he was not a great man, Harding deserves a better place than 11th worst.

10 Jimmy Carter Jimmy Carter's administration faced challenges in the form of economic recession, high inflation, and the Iranian hostage crisis. Carter's efforts to address these issues were often criticized as ineffective, and he faced criticism for his perceived lack of leadership and inability to effectively communicate with the American people. Additionally, Carter's administration faced criticism for its handling of foreign policy issues, particularly in relation to the Soviet Union and the Middle East.

Before Obama, Carter was definitely the worst ever! However, where Carter tried to elicit peace in the Middle East, Obama went out of his way to support the overthrow of many Middle Eastern governments that were either supportive or neutral, by radical Muslims who then unified and strengthened terrorism. His economic "leadership" threw the US into a disastrous recession, which eventually became the key item behind his defeat in the bid for a second term.

Carter's weak, ineffective leadership opened the door for the Iran hostage crisis. Carter is a known liar and buffoon who used to carry around empty suitcases to appear as a "common man" and often deferred to both his drunken brother and (then) 10-year-old daughter about policy items.

He is also the only president to be so arrogant and concerned with saving his wretched legacy that he's broken the cardinal rule of speaking out negatively about other presidents and has tried to take policy action.

The Contenders
11 Bill Clinton Bill Clinton's administration faced several controversies, including the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the impeachment proceedings that followed. Clinton also faced criticism for his handling of foreign policy issues, particularly in relation to conflicts in the Balkans and the Middle East. Additionally, Clinton's administration faced criticism for its role in the financial deregulation that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis.

Bill Clinton's presidency is marred not just by his personal scandals, which hint at an abusive power dynamic, but more gravely by his war crimes. His administration's unauthorized bombing of Yugoslavia for over 60 days, without an act of aggression against a NATO member, was a clear violation of national sovereignty. This act set a precedent for presidential overreach, suggesting a president could unilaterally engage in warfare for political motives without congressional approval.

This behavior dangerously aligns with monarchical powers, a notion the Founding Fathers explicitly warned against. Clinton's actions have had long-lasting implications on the executive power's scope in foreign interventions, challenging the constitutional balance of power.

12 Franklin Pierce Franklin Pierce's administration was marked by the divisive issue of slavery, which contributed to the outbreak of the Civil War. Pierce's support for the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which allowed for popular sovereignty in determining whether new territories would allow slavery, led to violence and further deepened the divide between North and South. Additionally, Pierce faced criticism for his handling of foreign affairs, including the Ostend Manifesto and the Gadsden Purchase.

Franklin Pierce has honestly been one of the worst people in American history. He worsened relationships between the North and South with the terrible Kansas-Nebraska Act, which led to Bloody Kansas. All he really did was drink and cry.

Now, I do feel bad, as his son died, but Lincoln lost three children and managed to get over it. Franklin Pierce is nothing but a drunk, racist, sad sack.

The country needed an active president. They also needed a president who would bring the country closer to each other. But often, when the country gets divided, it's because of the president. All of that sums up Pierce. He was so pathetic that he knew he had liver cirrhosis, yet still drank heavily.

13 Woodrow Wilson Woodrow Wilson's administration faced failures in the aftermath of World War I, particularly in the Treaty of Versailles negotiations, which many felt were punitive towards Germany and set the stage for future conflicts. Wilson's administration also faced criticism for its handling of racial tensions, including the segregation of federal offices and the use of federal troops to suppress civil rights protests.

Alright, people. This guy has to be the worst U.S. president of ALL TIME. He sterilized people with Down syndrome, he got us into World War I, and some might say he also got us into World War II. This guy played The Birth of a Nation and called it historically accurate. If people say he was actually good, then those people need to learn their history. WOODROW WILSON IS THE WORST U.S. PRESIDENT OF ALL TIME.

The creation of the Federal Reserve under Wilson was the death of this country's liberty, as Benjamin Franklin had previously stated it would be. He was backed by the private "Federal Reserve" (implying something that is simply untrue, that it is government-owned) to be elected, in return for signing the bill that officially created the Federal Reserve. Lincoln had already been killed, and there were two assassination attempts on Johnson for printing his own money, greenbacks, instead of paying 25-36% interest to pay for the war and create such debt for the country, and for actually shutting down the First Bank, respectively.

But Andrew Johnson was horrible in other ways. He's definitely in the top 10 worst as well. Wilson died with huge regrets, saying, "I have betrayed my country" (by signing the Federal Reserve Act). So, this redeems him somewhat in my eyes, as most of the presidents on this list are so bad, they had zero qualms about killing innocent people, American or otherwise.

Because there are so many downright evil men on this list, I think it should be mentioned that Wilson did recognize he created a monster and regretted it greatly for the rest of his life. He did not cause WWII, but he made money off it.

14 Lyndon Johnson Lyndon Johnson's administration faced failures in the Vietnam War, which was deeply unpopular with the American public and ultimately ended in a stalemate. Johnson's administration was also marked by civil rights tensions, including the Selma to Montgomery marches and the Watts riots.

Why this President isn't number one is beyond me. He didn't lead anything. The CIA is the one who pulled his strings.

In fact, if Kennedy wasn't killed, he would have been the first Vice President in history to go to jail, just like his grandmother said would happen. He was saved by the CIA, to whom he then owed everything, and let them lead the country for those four years that put this country in the debt we are in today.

He was the one who started it all. In fact, we would have been debt-free if Kennedy's plan had stayed in place. Johnson not being number one shows me that the American public doesn't know exactly what this man has done in the history of our country, which is a shame.

15 Ulysses S. Grant Ulysses S. Grant's administration faced scandals and corruption, particularly in the aftermath of the Civil War. Grant's presidency was marred by the Whiskey Ring scandal and the Credit Mobilier scandal, both of which involved government officials engaging in illegal activities. Additionally, Grant's administration faced criticism for its treatment of Native Americans and its failure to address civil rights issues.

His era was rife with corruption because he was very trusting of people who were taking advantage of his power. He ultimately has to be considered among the top people responsible for the mess that was Washington during this time period.

As was said earlier, perhaps the greatest general in U.S. history, but his undeniable skills didn't translate well to his presidency. It was a horrible black hole of corruption in any honest reading of U.S. history. Not as bad as Andrew Johnson, whom he preceded (and who was undoubtedly the worst president of all time), but definitely among the top 10 worst presidents to date.

16 Millard Fillmore Millard Fillmore's administration faced failures in its handling of the issue of slavery, particularly the Compromise of 1850. The compromise was deeply unpopular and failed to resolve the underlying tensions between North and South. Additionally, Fillmore's administration faced criticism for its handling of foreign affairs, particularly the Perry Expedition to Japan and its involvement in the Opium War.

A hypocrite. It is up to the state if they want slavery or not, but slave-free states should help catch escaped slaves and return them to their masters in the slave states.

He was one of the laziest presidents ever. He was the last president of the Whig party. He is the most forgotten president ever.

Well, unfortunately, I had to report on him. However, he did not believe in slavery, but again, he did support slavery in some way.

17 George H. W. Bush George H. W. Bush's administration faced criticism for its handling of the economy during his presidency, particularly the recession that occurred early in his term. Bush also faced controversy over his decision to invade Panama and the Gulf War, as well as criticism for not doing enough to address the AIDS epidemic.

He was a bad conservative, just like Reagan. He lost in a landslide to a far younger candidate, Bill Clinton. He gave birth to a monster who barely won the 2000 election.

I guess he did undo "Reaganomics," so the middle and lower class didn't have to cough up the cash, while the rich had tax cuts. So, I guess that was good.

This is the worst, most criminal of them all, and his family were the termites in our government, going all the way back to the late 1800s. The Bush family gave our future over to the greedy banks and set the precedent for all of the crooked government leaders we have to deal with today.

18 John Tyler John Tyler's administration faced several failures, including his expulsion from the Whig Party and his inability to pass significant legislation. Tyler also faced criticism for his handling of the Texas annexation, which was controversial at the time. Additionally, his administration was marked by economic difficulties and high levels of government debt.

He never did anything. How could he be in the Whig party? Voters after 1833 have no common sense.

From 1840-1844 as president, is there anything he is known for? He should be higher up. Probably the worst president of the Reconstruction period along with Andrew Johnson.

Instigated the Mexican-American War, supported slavery and slave-holding interests, and betrayed the country for the Confederacy. Achieved nothing positive.

John Tyler betrayed the United States and joined the Confederacy.

19 Joe Biden Joe Biden's administration has faced criticism for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the early stages of the crisis. Additionally, the Biden administration has faced criticism for its handling of the situation in Afghanistan, with many questioning the decision to withdraw troops and the evacuation efforts.

Needs to be higher, although I still think Bush and Obama did more damage in the long term. Unlike Biden, boomers thought George W. Bush was good and a great president when, in reality, he was not. Obama was perceived similarly, but it was Gen X and older millennials who thought he was good.

No one likes Biden, not even hardcore leftists or Obama voters. It's better to have a bad president who lacks public support than one who has it. Biden might be the World Economic Forum's puppet, but he's too sleepy to be truly dangerous. If anything, his incompetence is waking citizens up to how corrupt the foundations of America are. The Articles of Confederation will always be better in concept than the U.S. Constitution, which led to tyrannical big government programs and AI slavery. Despite this, Biden is not the lesser of evils because he can just as easily put the nation to sleep. His nickname, "Sleepy Joe," implies this, and demoralizing Trump is not "Fascism Defeated." Instead, it could lead to the return of "Bedtime Bush!" Vote for Trump if you want any sort of revolutionary potential in this country.

20 Ronald Reagan Ronald Reagan's administration faced failures in the early years of the AIDS epidemic, with critics accusing Reagan of not doing enough to address the crisis. Reagan's administration also faced criticism for its involvement in the Iran-Contra affair, where officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran and used the proceeds to fund Contra rebels in Nicaragua.

Ronald Reagan was an absolute monster who should be ranked #1. He's the reason all of us are so divided. The embarrassing US interventionism that HW Bush underwent was inspired by Reagan. The harmful Clinton policies that stripped Americans of welfare and "encouraged" people to work instead of raising kids were Reagan doctrines.

Was 9/11 a consequence of his actions? Who funded and armed those extremists to fight Russians in the 80s? It was Ronnie Reagan. Obama's inability to make significant changes to healthcare is 100% due, in part, to this monster stripping us of the right to survive illness and normalizing it.

Credit score checks? This guy. Wall Street greed? This guy. Unqualified racist politicians with dementia running for office who were actors first like Donald Trump? Reagan came first. The war on drugs? A failure. The AIDS crisis? Ignored.

The end of the Cold War had nothing to do with Reagan. Chernobyl and Russian incompetence should get more credit. This dude just made more nukes. He should have been impeached for Iran/Contra. I hope my urine trickles down the soil to hit him in hell.

21 Zachary Taylor Zachary Taylor's administration was marked by his sudden death just 16 months into his presidency, so his administration did not have time to experience significant failures. However, his administration did face challenges related to the debate over slavery and its expansion into new territories.

It is hard to say he did anything good while president, especially considering he died from eating cherries and buttermilk. Although, like Grant, he is considered okay because of what they did during wars. Taylor is the hero from the Mexican-American War, and Grant won the Civil War, but they weren't presidents when that happened.

If he had lived longer, perhaps history would have judged him better. As the last US President to be a slave owner, he was just on the wrong side of history.

It's not fair because he only served for 16 months (1 year and 4 months).

22 Gerald Ford Gerald Ford's administration faced several failures, including his controversial pardon of Richard Nixon, which damaged his credibility and reputation. Ford's administration also faced significant economic challenges, including high levels of inflation and unemployment. Additionally, his administration faced criticism for its handling of the Vietnam War and the subsequent refugee crisis.

Almost everyone who has played golf with him remembers President Ford saying, "I'm going to burn in Hell forever for two things: the Warren Commission and pardoning Nixon. I did both in the name of unity, but I sold my soul doing it."

Was pushed into office by Nixon's stupid mistakes. What was the poor man to do? Didn't run another term.

Knew he couldn't handle it. Think about it: first Agnew went down, then Nixon.

My mom hated him because he pardoned Nixon.

23 William Harrison William Harrison's administration was one of the shortest in American history, as he died just 32 days after taking office. As a result, his administration did not have time to accomplish much.

You really can't say much about the guy. He died only a month after he was inaugurated, which is to say he was unable to do anything remarkable or detrimental throughout his entire presidential run. Whether he could have been a president who would have been seen as a U.S. paragon like George Washington or a presidential disgrace like George W. Bush is really up to your thoughts and imaginations.

He said, "I can survive in rain without a coat." I swear he got sick and didn't wear a coat at all. He was showing off.

Is he God or Jesus? No. He is so stupid.

24 Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration faced failures in its response to the Holocaust. Many have criticized Roosevelt for not doing enough to save Jewish refugees, and for his administration's policy of not bombing Auschwitz. Additionally, Roosevelt's administration faced controversy over the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

FDR's policies undoubtedly prolonged the Depression. His endless make-work projects did very little to actually provide a viable long-term solution to the nation's financial problems. His decision to raise interest rates in 1937 plunged the country deeper into recession and ensured that the US would not further recover until WWII.

However, FDR's most egregious sin was introducing Keynesian deficit spending, which essentially guaranteed the US would accumulate massive national debt. The problems caused by this reckless spending strategy persist today, with the US currently shouldering an 18-trillion-dollar debt.

25 Martin Van Buren Martin Van Buren's administration faced failures in the economic sphere, particularly with the Panic of 1837. The economic downturn was severe and long-lasting, leading to widespread unemployment and financial hardship for many Americans. Van Buren's administration was criticized for its response to the crisis, which many felt was inadequate.

He may actually be the worst President. People here are saying he was a victim of Jackson's screw-ups, which undermines how spectacularly he screwed up in his own right.

While Wilson destroyed freedom of speech and tortured suspects, and Bush destroyed privacy, Van Buren did something debatably worse. He allowed Lilburn Boggs to pass Executive Order 44. This criminalized the Mormon faith in Missouri and legalized the killing of Mormons. He knew it was wrong but told the Mormon community that while he sympathized with their plight, interfering could hurt his reelection chances.

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