Diarrhea, Drunkenness And Dead Birds: 200 Years Of Inaugural Mishaps

23 minutes ago

About 50 Democratic lawmakers say they will not attend the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump. Not a great start, but according to historians Ed Ayers (@edward_l_ayers) and Joanne Freeman (@jbf1755), it could be worse.

In 1857, James Buchanan was struck with a case of diarrhea before taking his oath of office. Eight years later, giving the vice presidential inaugural address, Andrew Johnson was drunk. In 1973, Richard Nixon’s second inauguration was littered with dead pigeons.

For a look into the curious mishaps of inaugural history, Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Ayers and Freeman, co-hosts of the public radio show and podcast BackStory, which is produced at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

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