The 21 Most Shocking Things U.S. Presidents Have Said (Or Done)

Published December 28, 2015
Updated February 13, 2019

From Abraham Lincoln to George W. Bush, some of these shocking presidential quotes and actions will make you wonder about who you're really voting for.

December 28th marks the birthday of President Woodrow Wilson, ​who served as Commander in Chief of the United States through World War I. Wilson had a lot of radical ideas for his time—like lowering tariffs and attempting banking reform—but one of his most radical views was his devotion to eugenics. During his presidency, Wilson even signed into law an act that permitted forced sterilization of the “degenerates” that eugenics hoped to stamp out

This seems outrageous by today’s standards, but of course Wilson was not the only president to say, do, or believe some pretty surprising (and in some cases, downright terrible) things, as you’ll see from the following shocking presidential quotes:

LBJ On Voting Democrats
George W Bush Presidents
Bad Presidents Lincoln
Reagan Facts Copy
The 21 Most Shocking Things U.S. Presidents Have Said (Or Done)
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Abby Norman
Abby Norman is a writer based in New England, currently writing a memoir for Nation Books. Her work has been featured on The Rumpus, The Independent, Cosmopolitan, Medium, Seventeen, Romper, Bustle, and Quartz.