These 5 Presidents Had The Shortest Tenures In U.S. History

Trump excluded, of course.
President Gerald Ford and his wife, Betty Ford, in the Oval Office. He served as commander-in-chief for just 895 days.
President Gerald Ford and his wife, Betty Ford, in the Oval Office. He served as commander-in-chief for just 895 days.

President Donald Trump has served as the commander-in-chief of the United States for just about four months now. He has more than 1,300 days left in his current term and after that would very likely run for another.

With a 40 percent approval rating, Trump is historically unpopular. And as news about the multiple investigations into his presidential campaign’s ties to Russia continues to breakmedia outlets and lawmakers have launched into rampant speculation about whether he will make it through the rest of his term.

While the Russian investigations could theoretically bring Trump down, he has defied all political odds to survive and, until recently, has enjoyed broad support among his base. No matter what happens, though, he won’t have the shortest or most ineffective presidency in history. Several U.S. presidents barely had time to gild the White House before their successor stepped in.

31 Days ― William Henry Harrison

Harrison, elected to the presidency in 1840, was the oldest president to enter the White House at the time, at the ripe age of 68. A common refrain says he caught a cold while delivering his inaugural address that later developed into pneumonia. However, recent reports speculate he may have been infected with deadly bacteria that lead to a septic shock.

He died on the 32nd day of his presidency.

199 Days ― James Garfield

Garfield was the 20th president of the United States, elected in 1881 following nine terms in the House of Representatives. He was shot during the first year of his presidency by Charles Guiteau, an “embittered attorney,” according to the White House.

Two bullets struck him; one grazed his arm and another lodged itself into his abdomen. As The New York Times notes, the lack of advanced medical equipment saw “at least a dozen medical experts [probing] the president’s wound, often with unsterilized metal instruments or bare hands.” They couldn’t find the bullet, which doctors later declared created “a nonlethal wound,” and a series of poor medical decisions saw the president dead several weeks later.

His death is listed as an assassination.

492 Days ― Zachary Taylor 

Taylor, America’s 12th president, fell ill after participating in a July 4 celebration at the Washington Monument. He died five days later.

Wild theories that he had been poisoned with arsenic were discounted in 1991 after a Kentucky medical examiner determined he died of “one of a myriad of natural diseases.” It’s more likely he died of cholera or a similar bacterial infection.

881 Days ― Warren G. Harding

Harding was just over halfway through his presidential term when he suddenly died of a heart attack at the age of 58 in San Francisco.

895 Days ― Gerald Ford

Ford became president after Richard Nixon resigned in 1974, in the middle of his second term. Ford finished out the term and, despite his decision to pardon his predecessor, garnered moderate popularity. In his obituary, the Times called his term an era of “pivotal days of national introspection, involving America’s first definitive failure in a war and the first resignation of a president.”

He ran for election two years later, defeating former California Gov. Ronald Reagan to win the Republican nomination. He ultimately lost to Democrat Jimmy Carter.