The affair of American presidents

The affair of American presidents

For a long time, the United States was seen as an advanced democracy serving as a model. However, a number of cases related to US presidents have ruined this image in the last hundred years. Some scandals cost the president his office, others only a reputation, but usually damaged the United States and Americans' trust in their own government.

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Watergate

The most notorious case involving the US presidency began almost inconspicuously during the presidential race between Richard Nixon and George McGovern in 1972. Police then found five men in a complex of buildings serving Democrats called Watergate, who broke into it by force.

It soon became clear the men were trying to install wiretaps in the building, and they were connected to President Nixon's closest associates.


The journalists followed in their footsteps, including the now famous investigators Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of The Washington Post. The investigation revealed more and more disturbing news - there were wiretaps of guests from the White House and evidence hinting the president's awareness and even approval of the illegal activities of his subordinates.

The public was increasingly shaken by each new report, the evidence piled on top of each other, and Congress decided to initiate the impeachment process. Nixon, however, realized the battle was lost and resigned himself.

Monica Lewinsky

A little later, another president, Bill Clinton, did not avoid the impeachment process.

At the beginning of the affair, the president was to be held accountable for sexual harassment, however, during the trial yet another president's affair emerged - his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Clinton denied it, and even persuaded Lewinsky to confirm his version.


Thanks to recordings and further investigation, however, the truth came to light. Congress concluded the president had lied under oath and tried to prevent justice. That was the second time the impeachment was launched in the US history.

Bill Clinton was not removed from the presidency, but the affair severely tarnished his otherwise relatively successful presidency.

Torture of prisoners

When George Bush Jr. unleashed a war on terrorism after the shocking events of September 2001, the whole world was on his side.

After a few years, however, public opinion began to turn, especially as information began to leak from some US prisons. In 2004 and 2005, there were reports of appalling conditions at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, where US troops were operating at the time, and about the US base at Guantanamo.


Torture, humiliation, detention without trial, and imprisonment of minors all suddenly poured into newspaper and television screens and shocked the world.

However, appalling testimonies from these prisons have greatly changed the view not only of George Bush and the United States, but also of the entire war on terrorism.

Donald Trump and a period full of affairs

Scandals accompanied Donald Trump throughout his whole term. They were even involved in the campaign and the elections themselves facing suspicions of Russian manipulation. Trump was accused of sexual harassment many times and was another of the presidents facing impeachment. Congress tried to recall Trump after persuading Ukrainian President Zelenský to launch an investigation of Trump's political rival Biden and his son.

Donald Trump could not be removed from office either. This paved the way for other shocking events, including the violence in the Capitol, provoked by the president himself according to many. In this case, too, Congress has considered initiating the dismissal process, however, the president's term ended before it could happen.

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Political affairs and their influence on the world

With great power comes a great temptation to abuse it. Some will pass the test, others will succumb. However, political scandals harm not only the leader but also the country electing him as its representative, and generally undermine trust in democracy and the state. In recent years, however, social networks and political marketing have also come into play, significantly changing the message and perception of these affairs.