Presidential milestones, great and small: 2016

Every election offers a new opportunity for “firsts” and other milestones.  Some are historic in their nature; others are useful only if you are a contestant on JEOPARDY:

Donald J. Trump

  • Trump will be the 45th President of the United States.
  • Trump is the oldest newly-elected president. The previous record was held by Ronald Reagan, who was 69 years and 348 days old.  Trump will be 70 years and 220 days old, exceeding Reagan by 237 days.
  • Trump is the 1st president to have no prior political or military experience.
    • Four others had no elected experience: Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, Herbert Hoover, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.  Taylor, Grant, and Eisenhower were all wartime generals.  Grant and Hoover had served in the cabinet – Grant as Secretary of War and Hoover as Secretary of Commerce.
    • Trump is the 2nd person lacking political or military experience to be nominated for president by a major party, following Wendell Willkie, a New York utility executive who was the 1944 Republican nominee.
  • Trump is estimated to be the wealthiest president of all time. Although Trump’s actual net worth has been the subject of some dispute, even $1 billion would make him #1.  John F. Kennedy stood to inherit $1 billion from his father, had he outlived him.  George Washington’s extensive land holdings would today be worth approximately $500 million.
  • Trump is the 1st president to be a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Trump is the 19th Republican to be president.
    • There have been 15 Democrats (including Andrew Johnson, who was elected on a “National Union” ticket with Republican Abraham Lincoln), 4 Democratic-Republicans, 4 Whigs, 1 Federalist, and George Washington, who was not a member of any party.
  • Trump is the 5th president to be born in New York state, following Martin Van Buren, Millard Fillmore, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Only two states have produced more presidents:  Virginia (8) and Ohio (7).
    • He is the 2nd president to be born in New York City, following Theodore Roosevelt.
  • Trump is the 7th president to be a New York resident at the time of his election, following Van Buren, Millard Fillmore, Chester Alan Arthur, Grover Cleveland, and the Roosevelts. This is the most of any state – the next following are Virginia (5), Ohio (5) and Massachusetts (4).
  • Trump will take office with five of his predecessors living: Carter, George H. W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama.  This is tied for the most ever, with Lincoln, Clinton, and George W. Bush.
  • Trump is the 2nd president born in the month of June, joining George H. W. Bush. His birthdate of June 14 follows by two days Bush’s June 12 birthday.  Until Bush was elected, June had been the only month not to produce a president.
    • Trump is the 3rd Gemini to be president, joining Bush and John F. Kennedy.
  • Trump was born in 1946, the same year as Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. This makes 1946 the first year to produce three presidents.  Trump is actually the oldest of the three; he is 22 days older than Bush and 68 days older than Clinton.
    • Four other years have produced more than one president: 1767 (J. Q. Adams and Jackson), 1822 (Grant and Hayes), 1913 (Nixon and Ford), and 1924 (Carter and G. H. W. Bush).
  • Trump is the first president to have the first name “Donald,” and the first to have the middle name “John” (and obviously the first to have the last name “Trump.”)
  • Trump is of German and Scottish ancestry. His German ancestry follows Hoover, Eisenhower and George W. Bush.  His Scottish ancestry follows at least 15 other presidents.
  • Trump is the 8th president to be Presbyterian, following Jackson, Polk, Buchanan, Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, Wilson and Eisenhower.
  • Trump is 15 years older than his predecessor, Barack Obama.  This is the 13th time that a new president is older than the president he replaced, but it is the largest such difference in presidential history.  The previous record was Ronald Reagan, who was 13 years older than his predecessor, Jimmy Carter.
  • Many presidents have had famous residences, from Washington’s Mount Vernon and Jefferson’s Monticello to Theodore Roosevelt’s Sagamore Hill and Lyndon Johnson’s LBJ Ranch. Trump Tower joins that list.
  • Trump, at 6’3”, is among the tallest presidents. Lincoln was 6’4” and Lyndon Johnson was also 6’3”.
  • Trump is notable for three ways in which he is not historic. Unlike his general election opponent, Trump is male, like every other president.  He is of only European ancestry, like every other president except Obama.  He is a protestant Christian, like every president except Kennedy.

Melania Knauss Trump and the Trump family

  • melaniaDonald Trump is the second president to be divorced and remarried. The first was Ronald Reagan, who had divorced his first wife, Jane Wyman, and married Nancy Davis.  Trump is the first president to be twice-divorced, and the first president to have been married three times.  He divorced his first two wives, Ivana Zelníčková and Marla Maples, before marrying Melania Knauss.
  • Melania Trump is the 1st First Lady to not be a natural-born citizen, and the 2nd to be foreign-born. The first foreign-born First Lady was Louisa Johnson Adams, the wife of John Quincy Adams, who was born while her father was American Consul in London.  (Although she was foreign-born, Louisa was a natural-born American due to her father’s citizenship.)
  • Donald Trump is nearly 25 years older than Melania. This is the second-largest age difference between a president and first lady, following John Tyler and his second wife, Julia Gardiner Tyler, who was 30 years his junior.
  • Trump was the second-youngest of five siblings. Eight other presidents came from families of five.
  • Trump’s parents are both deceased. Eighteen presidents had at least one parent living at the time of his inauguration.
  • Trump has five children: three sons and two daughters.  Three other presidents had five children:  John Adams, Andrew Johnson, and Grover Cleveland.  Adams and Johnson also had three sons and two daughters.
  • Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and his youngest, Barron Trump, differ in age by nearly 30 years. This is not the longest such difference in presidential history – that distinction is held by the oldest and youngest of John Tyler’s 15 children, who had a 40-year age difference.

Mike Pence

  • pencePence will be the 48th Vice President of the United States.
  • Pence is the 3rd vice president to have been born in Indiana, joining Thomas R. Marshall (who served with Woodrow Wilson) and Dan Quayle (George H. W. Bush). Three more vice presidents were Indiana residents at the time of their election:  Schuyler Colfax (Grant), Thomas A. Hendricks (Cleveland), and Charles W. Fairbanks (T. Roosevelt).  With six residents as vice president, Indiana is second only to New York’s eleven.
    • Pence follows Hendricks as the second graduate of Hanover College in Hanover, Indiana to be vice president. Pence earned his law degree at Indiana University and follows Dan Quayle as the second vice president to be a graduate of that school, although Pence attended IU’s law school in Indianapolis rather than the main campus in Bloomington.
  • Mike Pence is the first governor or former governor to be elected vice president since Spiro Agnew in 1968 and 1972. (Pence’s opponent, Tim Kaine, would have also held this distinction as a former governor.)
  • As a former congressman, Pence will be the seventh consecutive vice president to have served in congress. The last to lack congressional service was Nelson Rockefeller, who had served as Governor of New York.  (Kaine, who is currently a U.S. Senator, would have also continued that streak.)

2016 election, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Tim Kaine

  • 2016Trump is the fifth president to have won the electoral college but lost the popular vote. He follows John Quincy Adams (1824), Rutherford B. Hayes (1876), Benjamin Harrison (1888), and George W. Bush (2000).   Although Adams was elected before the modern alignment of political parties, the others are all Republicans.
  • Although Trump lost the popular vote, his electoral college total of 306 is the largest for a Republican since George H. W. Bush, who won 426 electoral votes in 1988. Trump was the first Republican to carry Michigan and Pennsylvania since Bush in 1988, and the first to carry Wisconsin since Reagan in 1984.
  • Ohio continues to be a bellwether; it last supported a losing candidate in 1944, when Thomas Dewey won the state against Franklin Roosevelt. Dewey’s running mate that year was John Bricker, the Governor of Ohio.
  • Conversely, Nevada, by supporting Clinton, ended a streak of supporting the winner that went back to 1980; it last supported the loser when it voted for Ford over Carter in 1976.
  • Both candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, were from New York. This is the sixth time that both major candidates were from the same state, following 1860 (Illinois, Lincoln and Douglas), 1904 (New York, T. Roosevelt and Parker), 1920 (Ohio, Harding and Cox), 1940 (New York, F.D. Roosevelt and Willkie), and 1944 (New York, F.D. Roosevelt and Dewey).
  • Assuming Barack Obama completes his final weeks in office, it will complete a span of three presidents each serving two complete four-year terms. The only other time this has occurred is Jefferson, Madison and Monroe from 1801-25.  In fact, at no other time have even two eight-year presidencies followed each other.
  • hillary-and-kaineHillary Rodham Clinton was the first woman to be nominated for president by a major party, as well as the first spouse of a former president to herself be nominated. Had she been elected, she would have likewise been the first president to hold either distinction.
    • Likewise, Bill Clinton would have been the first “first gentleman.”
    • Clinton also would have been the first president to be a graduate of Wellesley College (which is after all an all-women’s college).
  • Clinton also would have been the first former secretary of state to serve as president since James Buchanan; she was the first to be nominated for president since Republican James G. Blaine in 1884.
  • Tim Kaine, Clinton’s running mate, would have been the third resident of Virginia to serve as vice president, following Jefferson and Tyler. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, he would have been the second vice president to be born in that state, following Walter Mondale.