Maintaining a work-life balance is difficult for anyone with a job. Add kids to the mix, and it gets even harder. It can be easy for any mom or dad to be so caught up in their careers that they lose closeness to their children, but this dynamic can define that relationship for years. And this problem is apparently common among presidents.
Being the leader of the free world, after living a high-performing public life that sets you on the path to the presidency, is fraught with pressure. Basically, something has to give way, and in many cases, unfortunately, it is the Commander-in-Chief’s relationship with his children. Regardless of their performance in the Oval Office, these presidents, at one point, were not the most worshipful parents. They were “old school” parents … which meant they were several levels of retention, distant and non-intervention when it came to raising their presidential children. Here are the presidents who did not feel the strongest connections with their children.
President Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. were not always best friends
Since President Donald Trump took office in 2017, his daughter Ivanka and husband Jared Kushner have been two of POTUS ‘closest and most influential political advisers. Meanwhile, he had to legally divest himself of his business interests and left most of the Trump Organization’s control in the hands of his sons, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., according to Vanity Fair .
However, that level of closeness and trust is a relatively recent development: Donald Jr. was not even a teenager when his father separated from his mother, Ivana Trump, in the early 1990s. Vanity Fair reports that Trump’s children were raised almost entirely by her mother, as well as by her parents, Milos and Maria Zelnicek, who spent six months a year living with the family in the 50-room Trump Tower triplex that Ivana divorced. “My father is a very hard-working guy, and that’s his focus on life,” said Donald Jr. New York Magazine in 2003. “I got a lot of parental attention that a child wants and needs from my grandfather.”
In the aftermath of the divorce drama in the headlines, 12-year-old Donald Jr. blamed the divorce on his father and reportedly accused Donald Sr. of not loving his family. Later, he and his younger siblings were sent to boarding school, which made the relationship between the father and the eldest son very tense in the adulthood of Trump Jr.
Ronald Reagan was the “Great Communicator” with everyone but his presidential sons.
When Ronald Reagan became president in 1981, his four children from two marriages were already adults, and almost all had experienced a certain tumult with their father. According to The Baltimore Sun Reagan had distanced himself from his first group of children, Maureen and Michael, after divorcing Jane Wyman and marrying Nancy Davis. Maureen reportedly once read a biography of her father, claiming that she only had two children, whom she had with Nancy, Patti Davis, and Ron Reagan, Jr., while Michael alleged that the President chose to attend the wedding of the Richard Nixon’s daughter, Tricia, who was celebrated the same day as their nuptials.
While Co-Chair of the Republican National Committee Maureen reached out to her father during her presidency, Patti Davis continued to have a particularly strained relationship with her parents. By People , Patti’s brothers stopped talking after their 1986 novel, Home Front , about a retention father who becomes president, was published. He later wrote a revealing memoir called The Way I See It , in which he alleged that his mother was an abusive user of pills while his father looked away. Furthermore, politically progressive Patti was ideologically at odds with his conservative father; Due to that tension, they didn’t see much of each other during his presidency. In 1994, he was charging $ 39 to participate in his seminar, “Recovering from Dysfunctional Families.”
The Reagan family reportedly approached amid the former president’s battle with Alzheimer’s.
Richard Nixon was not a practical presidential father
Long before he became the first president in the history of the United States to resign his post: The indictment hovered over his role in covering up the raid on Democratic offices in the Watergate building: Richard Nixon was a political swindler. For Biography , he won his election to a national office in 1946, earning a seat in the House of Representatives at age 33, after just returning from serving in the Navy in World War II. Nixon worked tirelessly to advance his political career, literally.
According to Joshua Kendall’s First Dads: Parents and Politics from George Washington to Barack Obama , He was known for having 20-hour workdays during congressional hearings in 1948 on alleged spy Alger Hiss. During those early years of his career, Nixon’s wife Pat gave birth to two daughters: Tricia in 1946 and Julie in 1948. There certainly was no time to see them during the Hiss hearings, and not in the early 1950s. Nor, when then Senator Nixon preferred to work late at night in his office and sleep there. Dwight Vice President D. Eisenhower reportedly maintained the routine of the absent father until his defeat in the 1960 presidential election to John F. Kennedy.
After landing a less demanding job at a Los Angeles law firm, Kendall writes: “[Nixon] promised his wife that he would eventually become a more involved father. But this never happened. ” He came to the conference circuit and wrote a book, until he successfully ran for president in 1968.
LBJ, LBJ, how many presidential kids did you recognize today?
Lyndon B. Johnson assumed the presidency in 1963 following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the culmination of a political career that included the vice presidency, serving as the powerful leader of the majority in the Senate, and an election to the House of Representatives in 1937. His constant companion and second in command: his wife, Claudia, better known as Lady Bird Johnson. She financed her first campaign in Congress and ran her office during the 1940s.
When daughters Lynda and Luci were born in 1944 and 1947, respectively, that did not change the Johnson’s working life much, as the couple reportedly trusted that their household staff would take care of most of the chores. parenting. According to Joshua Kendall’s First Dads. Parenting figures included cook Zephyr Wright, former employee Willie Day Taylor, and personal assistants living on site, Helen and Gene Williams. In the summer of 1955, the then senator. Johnson suffered a heart attack and convalesced at the family ranch in Texas, which was where he eventually spent a significant amount of time with his daughters.
According to People Johnson reportedly fathered a secret love son whom he never recognized, Steven, with his alleged lover, Madeleine Brown. Steven didn’t learn his supposed fatherhood until adulthood: “I realize I had to think about his position and about the girls and his legal wife … [but] if he had recognized me … I probably would have walked away from fears and anxieties I had as a child «.
President Franklin Roosevelt and his son did not have much in common
Born into a wealthy and prominent family (related to President Theodore Roosevelt), Franklin Delano Roosevelt won his first election in 1910, a seat in the New York State Senate. Three years later, President Woodrow Wilson appointed him Assistant Secretary of the Navy, forcing him to spend most of his time in Washington, DC. Their sixth and youngest son, John A. Roosevelt, was born in March 1916, and the Roosevelt clan was chosen. Spend the summer at the family retreat on Campobello Island in New Brunswick, Canada, according to Jean Edward Smith FDR . Well, not Franklin Roosevelt.
The future president Per Smith stayed in Washington, DC, where he began a decades-long affair with Lucy Mercer, his wife’s social secretary. According to reports, that started a pattern of distance between FDR and John: Not only was Dad not very busy, busy with work and politics, but he also developed polio when the boy was about five years old. While they were cordial, they were not close, and nowhere was that more evident than in political ideology. Franklin Roosevelt is an icon of the Liberal Democrats for instituting a social security package during the Great Depression, while John, according to Smith, was “an undercover Republican” who did not publicly disclose this until his father died in 1945.
President Warren G. Harding had an unrecognized loving son
Warren G. Harding served as president for just two years, took office in 1921, and left after the death of a heart attack in 1923. Elected on a post-World War I anti-immigrant and pro-business platform, Harding surrounded himself from corrupt advisers: Their reputation suffered posthumously, when some of them were implicated in the Teapot Dome scandal, in which Home Secretary Albert Fall personally benefited from renting public land to oil companies, according to the Independent .
Even more scandalous was Harding’s secret private life. The president had no children, at least not with his wife, Florence King, but after his death, it turned out that he had fathered a daughter named Elizabeth with Nan Britton, his lover, who was 31 years his junior, according to The New York Times . In 1928, Britton revealed everything in his book, The President’s Daughter , including how she had given birth to Harding’s baby in 1919. Britton, who died in 1991, was never able to conclusively prove during his life that Harding was the biological father. Elizabeth, something DNA testing confirmed in 2015, ten years after Elizabeth’s death. . Raised by his aunt and uncle, it is unclear if Harding ever met his only son, who was about four years old when he passed away.
The ‘A’ in Chester A. Arthur meant ‘distant’
Chester Alan Arthur is one of the darkest American presidents. He was not a leader in times of trouble or war like George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, nor is he considered by historians to be one of the worst, such as the overwhelming successor to Lincoln, Andrew Johnson. Arthur was also not directly elected to the presidency, taking office in the Oval Office in September 1881 after the assassination of President James Garfield just six months after his term.
Arthur had three children, including William, who died as a young child in 1863, as well as Chester II (also known as “Chet”) and Ellen (nicknamed “Nell”), who were 17 and 10 years old respectively when their father left. moved to the White House. According to Mathew Manweller Chronology of the presidency of EE. USA President Arthur was a “proud” father who enjoyed walking his children at social events, but privately, he was never terribly warm and became a distant single father (his wife, Ellen, died in 1880). Preferring to keep himself busy with work and spending his free time fishing and hanging out with friends, Arthur left his sister, Mary McElroy, with the job of raising young Nell when Chet left to attend New Jersey College shortly after he started. his father’s presidency. .
Unfortunately, there wasn’t much time to develop relationships with his children after the presidency, since Arthur died of chronic kidney disease in 1886.
Martin Van Buren made a better boss than a father
Relative to other presidents, whose lives have been scrutinized by magazine writers while in office and historians for decades and centuries afterward, Martin Van Buren’s private life has not been arduously documented. There are many interesting curiosities about the eighth president (he served from 1837 to 1841), such as how he was fluent in Dutch and co-founded the Democratic Party.
As for personal details, Biography reports that Van Buren married cousin Hannah Hoes in 1807, only for her to die at the young age of 35 in 1819. (Fun fact: Van Buren, who never remarried, nor He never even mentioned it in his memoirs) By Britannica , Hannah’s death left Van Buren as the single father of their four young children, all under the age of 12: Abraham, John, Martin Jr. and Smith. According to the Miller Center at the University of Virginia, the future president passed on the care of his motherless children to his relatives because he was so busy with his burgeoning political career. However, he reportedly “frequently expressed regret that he was no longer involved in his education,” but “did provide his education and well-being.”
As his children grew, Van Buren attempted to establish closer relationships with them: During his presidency, they all served as “his trusted assistants and advisers.”
Herbert Hoover rarely visited his son during his hospitalization.
Herbert Hoover, who served as president from 1929 to 1933, may not have known exactly how to be a father. According to Joshua Kendall’s First Dads , the future president was orphaned at the age of eight, and was largely raised by his “Quaker relatives in Iowa and Oregon, who insisted that he do long hours of physically demanding agricultural work” every day. .
After marrying his wife Lou in 1899 and welcoming their children Herbert Jr. (born 1903) and Allan (born 1907), in the 1910s Hoover became quite wealthy with his business, or at least what Rich enough to leave the day-to-day upbringing duties for babysitters and maids while the married couple went on long business trips and vacations. When he was named Secretary of Commerce by President Warren G. Harding and lived in Washington, the future President’s children went to high school in California. By Kendall, “For updates on their lives, [Hoover] would rely on summaries of important milestones provided by their paid caregivers.”
Unfortunately, the tragedy occurred in 1931, when Herbert Jr., 28, developed tuberculosis and was hospitalized in North Carolina for nearly a year. During that time, then-President Hoover “could only make one visit.”
President Donald Trump has a daughter besides Ivanka
Ivanka Trump, the daughter of Donald Trump with his first wife, Ivana, receives much praise from her presidential father in the press. However, the family patriarch rarely speaks, or even is seen, with his other daughter, Tiffany Trump. Born in 1993 to Marla Maples, Donald’s second wife, Tiffany grew up primarily in California and was raised by her single mother, as her parents divorced in 1999. In short, Donald Trump remarried in 2005 (with the model Melania Knauss) and was welcomed by a son, Barron, a year later. Along with his business interests and the presentation of the reality show, The Apprentice , The balance between work life and the future president in the Big Apple meant that he had little time left to see Tiffany.
While Tiffany Trump made a few appearances towards the end of her famous pop’s famous 2016 presidential campaign, that doesn’t mean they were both close or closer since then. “Since the opening, Tiffany and her father have sometimes gone months without speaking and she spent a long time without seeing him,” said a source. People in 2018. “The last time you were at a family function with him, it was uncomfortable for her and you didn’t feel totally welcome.”