From Power to Public Humiliation: Notorious Political Resignations

  • A governor claimed he was hiking, but instead, he was having an affair.
  • President quits after embarrassing political scandal.
  • A congressman resigned after a sexting scandal.
  • A European politician stole a sandwich.

( – Americans expect that their politicians are going to behave like upstanding citizens. Throughout history, there have been many examples indicating that’s not always the case. The nation has tuned into their news many times over the last few decades and seen a politician standing there, often with his wife beside him, with a shamed look on his face, admitting to an affair or some other bad deed.

In the 1990s, our very own president told the American people that he did not have an intimate relationship with a woman (a lie). One might say humiliating political scandals are as American as apple pie. Here are some of the most notable, with a bonus European scandal.

Weiner Showed His….

Discussing embarrassing political scandals is impossible without mentioning former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY). In 2011, the Democrat resigned from office after a three-week scandal involving his disgusting online behavior. His announcement was met with cheers, and someone shouted, “Goodbye, pervert!”

The congressman had multiple encounters with women online and even sent sexually explicit photos to some of them. He tried to make a political comeback in 2013 and ran for mayor of New York City. Once again, his online behavior sank him. He’d sent photos under the alias “Carlos Danger.” In 2016, more allegations surfaced. This time, he was accused of sexting a 15-year-old girl. He later pleaded guilty to sending obscene material to a child and went to prison.

That’s Not the Appalachian Trail

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford disappeared from June 18 to June 24, 2009. At the time, he was a rising star in the Republican Party. While missing, his staff told the press he was hiking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail. The answer seemed a bit odd.

On the 24th, the governor suddenly returned from the shortest Appalachian Trail hike in history and admitted his staff had not been telling the truth. He wasn’t in the Blue Ridge Mountains, after all. Instead, he’d been in Argentina, engaging in an affair with a woman he’d been seeing for a year. The governor resigned from his position as the chairman of the Republican Governors Association but served out his term as governor.

President Quits

The biggest American political resignation in history came from President Richard Nixon in 1974. Republicans pressured the POTUS to resign before he was impeached over the cover-up of the Watergate Scandal. That was a break-in of the Democratic National Committee’s offices in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC. Recordings later revealed he tried to interfere with the criminal investigation.

Ironically, in 1973, Nixon’s first vice president, Spiro Agnew, also resigned from office after a series of unrelated scandals.

A Stolen Sandwich

The US doesn’t own a monopoly on political scandals. One of the funnier ones in Europe was when Slovenian MP Darij Krajcic resigned after he stole a sandwich from a local shop in Ljubljana. He claimed he was conducting a “social experiment” to see how secure the store was. Instead, he earned himself a place on the unemployment line and had to pay for his sandwich.

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