History Of Presidential Transitions Of Power

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The peaceful transition of power is historically a hallmark of the American presidency, but the process hasn’t always gone smoothly. The Onion looks back at a history of presidential transitions.


1797: John Adams gets nation off to lame, cowardly start by peacefully accepting George Washington’s power instead of assassinating him and seizing it by force.

1837: Introduction of indoor plumbing in the White House allows Andrew Jackson to become the first president to leave his successor an upper-decker in the presidential toilet.

1861: James Buchanan ends transition letter to Abraham Lincoln by informing him there’s a teensy chance civil war could break out soon, so, you know, good luck with that.

1865: Despite his reputation as a master statesman, Lincoln leaves no transition plan for his successor.

1873: Transition from first-term Ulysses S. Grant to second-term Ulysses S. Grant goes off without a hitch.

1969: Richard Nixon immediately sets to work putting own stamp on the office by ordering a full redecoration of Vietnam.


1980: Carters agree to move into guest bedroom for two months so Nancy Reagan could have carpets cleaned.

2001: Bill Clinton’s staffers remove all the Ws from White House keyboards to slight the incoming George W. Bush, which led to issues nine months later when two planes hit the orld Trade Center.


2009: Bush runs back into White House after remembering three other countries America was bombing he’d forgotten to tell Obama about.

2017: Obama finally hands Trump keys to Mar-a-Lago.