7 of the Weirdest Inaugurations in History

Even with all the pomp and planning, presidential inaugurations are not immune to problems or peculiarities. Below are seven inaugurals that got weird, silly or just plain didn't go smoothly.

1 | Dwight D. Eisenhower: Lassoed and Lovin' It

At the time of the 1953 inauguration, the United States was at the height of its infatuation with screen cowboys. Montie Montana, a renowned trick roper who performed in 60 Rose Bowl parades and more than 20 movies (including The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance), was asked to add some cowboy flavor to the inaugural proceedings. Montana suggested to the president that he could present President Eisenhower and Vice President Nixon with 10-gallon hats, but Ike decided to go with a lassoing instead.1

2 | Andrew Johnson: The Drunk Vice President

In 1865, Andrew Johnson gave a train-wreck of a speech on the big day. The vice president usually gives a short and smooth speech prior to the president's address. But the 16th vice president, who later became the 17th president after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated that year, was ill with typhoid fever and took the medicine of the day --- whiskey --- the night before. The hangover must have gone to his head. During the speech, he bragged about his humble origins and his triumph over Confederate rebels. Lincoln reportedly looked on in horror.2

3 | Andrew Jackson: Party Like Its 1829

The White House has seen a lot of big parties, but nothing compares to March 4, 1829, when Andrew Jackson’s open house sparked a mob scene that almost destroyed the president’s house. A rugged, "man of the people," Jackson attracted a similarly rough and rowdy crowd. The party was so big that the courageous, battle-tested President Jackson fled the scene (out a back door or through a window) as a huge crowd drank heavily, destroyed furniture and china, and even ground cheese into the carpets with their boots on the White House carpet. Only the promise of more free liquor drew the rabble out of the executive mansion.3

4 | Ulysses S. Grant: The Dead Birds

Ulysses S. Grant thought canaries would add a festive touch to his inaugural ball in 1873, the beginning of his second term. Unfortunately, the 18th president failed to anticipate the cold temperatures — the morning low was 4 degrees Fahrenheit (about 15 degrees Celsius), the coldest March day on record. With wind chill, the day felt like a blustery minus 15 F to minus 30 F (minus 26 C to minus 34 C). All told, about 100 birds froze to death during Grant's inauguration.4

5 | John F. Kennedy: Comedy of Errors

Things didn’t exactly go smoothly during Kennedy’s 1961 inauguration. An overnight snowstorm almost forced the cancellation of the festivities, but they continued as planned—sort of. During the invocation, a short circuit caused smoke to temporarily pour out from the lectern. Then when poet Robert Frost took to the podium, he was unable to read his original composition due to the bright glare reflecting off the snow. Instead, he was forced to recite another ode from memory and then told the crowd he dedicated it “to the president-elect, Mr. John Finley.” Luckily, most only remembered Kennedy’s eloquent inaugural address that followed.5

6 | William Henry Harrison: A Killer Speech

It’s common wisdom that William Henry Harrison delivered one killer of a speech after being sworn in as the ninth president of the United States—and it had nothing to do with anything he said. Ignoring the advice of vigilant mothers everywhere, “Old Tippecanoe” swore off his overcoat, hat and gloves while giving his inaugural address on a freezing, wet winter day. And in a quest to prove his virility while silencing critics who thought him an intellectual lightweight, the 68-year-old Harrison definitely overcompensated by delivering a whopping 8,445-word speech that droned on for nearly two hours. Many believe that history’s lengthiest inaugural address led directly to the briefest of presidencies as Harrison died exactly one month later on April 4, 1841—with the official cause listed as pneumonia.6

7 | James Buchanan: The Ill-fated Inauguration

The most tragic of inauguration horror stories happened in 1857 at the inauguration of James Buchanan. In an eerie resemblance to the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Philadelphia a century later, guests who attended events at one of Washington’s biggest hotels came down with a mystery illness, and then died quickly or over the course of the following two years. Buchanan himself contracted the disease twice and survived: once before his inauguration and once shortly after it. In both cases, he was at the hotel.

Among the 36 fatalities were people who attended the official post-inauguration banquet at the hotel, including three U.S. congressmen. Today, experts believe inadequate sanitary conditions existed in the hotel, including problems with its sewage system. The hotel was demolished in the 1920s and a tourist attraction, the Newseum, now sits on its location.7

Sources:

1Slate.com

2LiveScience.com

3Constitution Center

4LiveScience.com

5History.com

6History.com

7Constitution Center

Fox News host Greg Gutfeld joined Glenn on "The Glenn Beck Podcast" this week to talk about his new book, "The Plus: Self-Help for People Who Hate Self-Help."

Greg admits he is probably the last person who should write a self-help book. Nevertheless, he offers his offbeat advice on how to save America during what has become one of the most tumultuous times in history, as well as drinking while tweeting (spoiler: don't do it).

He also shares his "evolution" on President Donald Trump, his prediction for the election, and what it means to be an agnostic-atheist.

In this clip, Greg shares what he calls his "first great epiphany" on how dangerous cancel culture has become.

"I believe that cancel culture is the first successful work-around of the First Amendment," he said. "Because freedom of speech doesn't protect me from my career being ruined, my livelihood being destroyed, or me getting so depressed I commit suicide. Cancel culture is the first successful work-around of freedom of speech. It can oppress your speech with the scepter of destruction. We don't have freedom of speech anymore."

Watch the video clip below or find the full Glenn Beck Podcast with Greg Gutfeld here.

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Dr. Simone Gold joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Thursday to set the record straight about hydroxychloroquine -- what it is, how it works, and the real reason for all the current controversy surrounding a centuries-old medication.

Dr. Gold is a board certified emergency physician. She graduated from Chicago Medical School before attending Stanford University Law School. She completed her residency in emergency medicine at Stony Brook University Hospital in New York, and worked in Washington D.C. for the Surgeon General, as well for the chairman of the Committee on Labor and Human Resources. She works as an emergency physician on the front lines, whether or not there is a pandemic, and her clinical work serves all Americans from urban inner city to suburban and the Native American population. Her legal practice focuses on policy issues relating to law and medicine.

She is also the founder of America's frontline doctors, a group of doctors who have been under attack this week for speaking out about hydroxychloroquine during a news conference held outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington D.C.

On the program, Dr. Gold emphasized that the controversy over hydroxychloroquine is a "complete myth."

"Hydroxychloroquine is an analogue or a derivative of quinine, which is found in tree bark. It's the most noncontroversial of medications that there is," she explained.

"It's been around for centuries and it's been FDA-approved in the modern version, called hydroxychloroquine, for 65 years. In all of that time, [doctors] used it for breast-feeding women, pregnant women, elderly, children, and immune compromised. The typical use is for years or even decades because we give it mostly to RA, rheumatoid arthritis patients and lupus patients who need to be on it, essentially, all of their life. So, we have extensive experience with it ... it's one of the most commonly used medications throughout the world."

Dr. Gold told Glenn she was surprised when the media suddenly "vomited all over hydroxychloroquine", but initially chalked it up to the left's predictable hatred for anything President Donald Trump endorses. However, when the media gave the drug Remdesivir glowing reviews, despite disappointing clinical trial results, she decided to do some research.

"[Remdesivir] certainly wasn't a fabulous drug, but the media coverage was all about how fabulous it was. At that moment, I thought that was really weird. Because it's one thing to hate hydroxychloroquine because the president [endorsed] it. But it's another thing to give a free pass to another medicine that doesn't seem that great. I thought that was really weird, so I started looking into it. And let me tell you, what I discovered was absolutely shocking," she said.

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According to the mainstream media's COVID-19 narrative, the president is "ignoring" the crisis.

On tonight's "Glenn TV" special, Glenn Beck exposes the media's last four months of political theater that has helped shape America's confusion and fear over coronavirus. And now, with a new school year looming on the horizon, the ongoing hysteria has enormous ramifications for our children, but the media is working overtime to paint the Trump administration as anti-science Neanderthals who want to send children and teachers off to die by reopening schools.

Glenn fights back with the facts and interviews the medical doctor Big Tech fears the most. Dr. Simone Gold, founder of America's Frontline Doctors, stands up to the media's smear campaign and explains why she could no longer stay silent in her fight against coronavirus fear.

Watch a preview below:


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It's high time to leave the partisan politics behind and focus on the facts about face masks and whether or not they really work against COVID-19.

On the radio program Tuesday, Glenn Beck spoke with Drs. Scott Jensen and George Rutherford about the scientific evidence that proves or disproves the effectiveness of mask wearing to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Then, Dr. Karyln Borysenko joined to break down where the massive political divide over masks came from in the first place.

"I think if we were to talk about this a couple months ago, I might have said, 'Well, there's the science of masks, and there's the emotions of masks.' But, unfortunately, there's something in between," Jensen said. "I would have thought that the science of masks would have to do with the physics of masks, so I did a video a couple months ago where I talked about the pore side of a cotton mask or a surgical mask."

He explained that properly worn masks can help reduce the spread of virus particles, but cautioned against a false-sense of security when wearing a mask because they are far from providing complete protection.

"If you have a triple-ply mask, the pore size will end up being effectively five microns. And five microns, to a COVID-19 virus particle, is 50 times larger. That's approximately the same differential between the two-inch separation between the wires of a chain-link fence, and a gnat," Jensen explained.

"But now what we're seeing is if we have some collision of COVID-19 viral particles with the latticework of any mask ... if you're breathing out or breathing in and the viral particles collide with the actual latticework of a mask, I think intuitively, yes, we can reduce the amount of virus particles that are going back and forth."

Dr. Rutherford said masks are essential tools for fighting COVID-19, as long as you wear them correctly. He laid out the three main reasons he believes we should all be wearing masks.

"So, we're trying to do three things," he said. "First of all, we're trying to protect the people around you, in case you are one of the 60% of people who have asymptomatic infection and don't know it. The second thing we're trying to do is to protect you. The third thing we're trying to do is, if you get infected, you'll get infected at a lower dose, and then you're less likely to develop symptoms. That's the threefer."

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