World leaders have tough jobs. They need to run their countries effectively while managing their personal lives and staying out of trouble politically, economically, and personally. Some leaders do just fine with all the pressure, while others take a lot of chances and make some bad decisions, harming many of those around them.
Cheating, Genocide, Cover-Ups, & More
The following political figures have made some questionable choices during their time in office. Some cheated on their wives, others covered up some horrible incidents during their administration, and still more were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people. Read on…
Margaret Thatcher & the Covered-Up Pedophile Ring
Prime Minister of Britain, Margaret Thatcher, was reportedly briefed about intelligence operative Peter Hayman’s pedophile scandal when she had been in Downing Street only a year in the late 1970s. Officials believed the diplomat’s lawlessness went back to at least 1966, yet for two years his activities were covered up. In 2015, newly revealed documents showed that Thatcher was completely informed of the investigation and knew of his “unnatural sexual proclivities.”
However, Hayman’s arrest for possessing pedophile material was covered up between 1978 and the publication of a story about it two years later. Many were disturbed that a pedophile in the highest levels of government got away with his activities for so many years.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s Impeachment
Dilma Rousseff was the first female President of Brazil. The senate overwhelmingly decided to remove her from office in 2015 for manipulating the federal budget. The senate voted 61–20 in favor of impeachment, finding her guilty of breaking budgetary laws. Rousseff was found guilty of moving funds between government budgets, which is illegal in Brazil.
She believed her political enemies were using the proceedings to remove her from office before the following presidential election. The people of Brazil agreed with her impeachment, and a massive number of demonstrators took to the streets and demanded that she resign after being fed up with corruption.
Donald Trump’s Russian Scandal
It’s still unclear whether there are connections between Russia and President Trump, his advisers, and his campaign or if Moscow and Russia interfered in the 2016 election. A republican congressman has called for an independent inquiry into the situation, and multiple congressional committees are also pursuing investigations.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a Trump spokeswoman told ABC that the FBI had dismissed allegations of inappropriate Trump-Russia ties as, well, baloney. The FBI has not commented publicly on its investigation into alleged contact between the President’s associates and Russian operatives. Trump has lashed out at the intelligence community and the media over the allegations.
Vladimir Putin Helped Hundreds of Athletes Beat Doping Tests
Vladimir Putin is a cheater. He paved the way for hundreds of Russian athletes to beat drug tests at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2012 London Games, and the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia by covering up their use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Scientist Grigory Rodchenkov acted as a “doper-in-chief’ to Russia’s athletes and revealed in a documentary that Putin personally helped him oversee a continuation of the doping program. According to Rodchenkov, he doped 30 Russian medal winners at Beijing 2008, and at least half of Russia’s 72 medal winners at London 2012 before helping Russia triumph at Sochi 2014.
Ronald Reagan May Have Had Alzheimer’s While President
Ronald Reagan left the White House in 1989 and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s five years later in 1994. He died in 2004 at age 93. In his book My Father at 100, written by his son Ron Reagan, Ron recalls noticing the deterioration of his father’s mental condition as early as three years into his first term. He wrote that he became concerned during the presidential debate with Walter Mondale on Oct. 7, 1984. “My heart sank as he floundered his way through his responses, fumbling with his notes, uncharacteristically lost for words. He looked tired and bewildered,” Ron recalled.
Robert F. Kennedy Couldn’t Keep His Hands off Women
The book, Bobby Kennedy: The Making of A Liberal Icon, by Larry Tye reveals that Senator Robert F. Kennedy routinely cheated on his wife Ethel, who reportedly put up with his affairs because she knew there was “no tradition of monogamy in the Kennedy clan”. The author claims Bobby was influenced by the behavior of his father Joseph, who had a mistress (silent film star Gloria Swanson) and relationships with a string of other women.
Bobby and Ethel had 11 children, but the politician allegedly had relationships with stars such as Kim Novak, Lee Remick, and Claudine Longet. It’s also been rumored he also slept with Marilyn Monroe at the same time his brother JFK had a fling with her.
JFK’s Multiple Affairs
Like Bobby Kennedy, John F. Kennedy was a “compulsive womanizer,” according to biographer Robert Dallek. He wrote in his book: “Kennedy himself, who could not explain his need for sex with so many women, probably rationalized his behavior as a diversion comparable with what British aristocrats did, or with the golf, sailing and fishing presidents traditionally used to ease tensions.”
Kennedy wasn’t very particular with his targets, sleeping with educated women as well as strippers, airline stewardesses, and secretaries. He famously had a fling with Marilyn Monroe. Her rendition of “Happy Birthday” to the President in 1962 led many to many rumors about the true nature of their relationship.
President Park Geun-hye’s Viagra Scandal
President Park Geun-hye of South Korea became embroiled in scandal in 2016 after it was revealed that the Blue House, as the president’s office is known, purchased 60 Viagra pills and 304 pills of a generic equivalent. Although Viagra is commonly used to help a man’s performance in the bedroom, a presidential spokesman claimed the pills were being used to treat altitude sickness during travel.
Park has never been married, but her personal life has been under a microscope. In 2014, a ferry disaster killed 300 people, and the South Korean government was slow to respond. It was rumored she was involved with her boyfriend for seven hours and that’s why they didn’t respond to the incident very quickly.
Italy: Silvio Berlusconi’s Purported Underage Affairs
Silvio Berlusconi was Prime Minister of Italy for nine years. He resigned in 2011. Prior to his resignation, he was accused and convicted of paying a 17-year-old Moroccan prostitute for sex. He was found not guilty on appeal. His wife, Veronica Lario, would eventually divorce him and accused him publicly of having relationships with minors, one of whom was Noemi Letizia.
Letizia claimed she spent a week at Berlusconi’s Sardinian villa without her parents in 2009. A 42-year-old escort and retired actress also claimed Berlusconi paid her for sex on two occasions. The Prime Minister denied having inappropriate relationships with the women.
Bill Clinton’s Affair With Monica Lewinsky & Subsequent Impeachment
President Bill Clinton admitted to having an “inappropriate relationship” with White House intern Monica Lewinsky in 1995 and 1996. He had also been accused of sexual misconduct during his time as Governor of Arkansas by a woman named Paula Jones. In 1998, Clinton was impeached by the House of Commons on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice relating to cases involving both Lewinsky and Jones.
The senate did not achieve a two-thirds majority to remove Clinton from office. He was acquitted on both charges and completed his term. In 2001, his law license was suspended for five years after he acknowledged he had engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice in the Jones case.
Muammar Gaddafi’s Coup
In 1969, revolutionary Muammar Gaddafi, commonly known as Colonel Gaddafi, and 70 co-conspirators surrounded Libya’s royal palace and government buildings to take over the government. They cut communications and within two hours were able to seize control without bloodshed.
Qaddafi told citizens in a radio address afterward that he overthrew the “reactionary and corrupt” regime, removing “the stench of which has sickened and horrified us all.” He promised big changes in the socio-economic and political nature of Libya. He ruled the country for 42 years, often clashing with the United States, and was killed in the 2011 “Arab Spring” uprising.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Resignation & Life Sentence
Muhammad Hosni El Sayed Mubarak was the fourth President of Egypt from 1981 to 2011. In February 2011, resigned as president and transferred authority to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. In April, a prosecutor ordered Mubarak and both of his sons be detained for questioning about allegations of corruption and abuse of power.
He was also ordered to stand trial on charges of negligence for failing to halt the killing of peaceful protesters during the revolution. He was sentenced to life in prison in June 2012. During a retrial, Mubarak was sent to a military hospital due to his poor health. His sons were freed in 2015.
Ted Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick Incident
In 1969, U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy accidentally drove his vehicle off a one-lane bridge in Massachusetts. He was able to swim free but didn’t report the crash to authorities for 10 hours. The problem? There was a passenger in his car, Mary Jo Kopechne.
Kopechne wound up dying either from drowning or suffocation. Her body was recovered by divers the day after the crash. Kennedy received a two-month suspended jail sentence for leaving the scene of a crash that caused personal injury. The Chappaquiddick incident turned into a massive scandal of the 1970s and likely prevented Kennedy from campaigning for President in 1972 and 1976.
Idi Amin’s Brutal Regime
Idi Amin was the third President of Uganda. He ruled from 1971 to 1979, seizing power in a military coup. His reign was full of violent atrocities — human rights abuses, ethnic persecution, executions, and corruption. Experts and human rights groups believe he was responsible for the deaths of 100,000 to 500,000 people.
The killings were often motivated by ethnic, political, and financial reasons. Among others, Amin was responsible for the deaths of a former prime minister and chief justice, Anglican archbishop, former governor of the central bank of Uganda, the vice chancellor of Makerere University, and two of his own cabinet ministers.
Alexander The Great’s Sexual Proclivities
For the ancient Greeks, men were expected to marry women to produce an heir, but to satisfy their urges they often sought out adolescent boys up to the age of 16. It was very common and accepted for men to have relationships with boys. Alexander the Great’s actions were scandalous not because he carried on homosexual relationships but because he had a relationship with a Persian boy named Bagoas, who was a eunuch and considered a barbarian.
Alexander also had an ongoing relationship with a boy named Hephestaion. What made it scandalous was that Alexander carried on the relationship even after Hephestaion grew into an adult.
Napoleon’s Bedroom Exploits
Napoleon Bonaparte reportedly lost his virginity to a Parisian prostitute and married Joséphine de Beauharnais in 1796, when he was 26 and she was a 32-year-old widow with two children. She also happened to be the mistress of Paul Francoise-Barras, a government leader who would help further Napoleon’s military career.
Both had affairs during their marriage. Napoleon’s mistresses bared his children; however, Joséphine did not, maybe due to an abortion she had in her 20s. The pair divorced so he could produce an heir. He wed Marie Louise, Archduchess of Austria, and a great niece of Marie Antoinette by proxy. They had one son.
Thomas Jefferson’s Children With a Slave
President Thomas Jefferson owned a slave of mixed race named Sally Hemings with whom he reportedly had six children. Hemmings and her siblings were half-siblings of Jefferson’s wife, Martha Wayles Skelton. After Martha died, Jefferson was the United States Minister to France. His daughter and Hemings traveled with him to France.
Most experts believe Jefferson began a sexual relationship with Hemings in France when she was just a teenager. Hemings’ children lived in Jefferson’s house as slaves and were trained as artisans. When they came of age, he wound up freeing all of Hemings’ surviving children. He didn’t free any other slave family.
Abraham Lincoln Questionable Heterosexuality
There is no proof one way or the other, but some historians speculate President Abraham Lincoln may have been gay. He had problems relating to women and was often stand-offish with them. Conversely, he appeared very comfortable and affectionate with men. Psychologist Clarence Arthur Tripp claimed in a 2005 book that Lincoln had a close male friend he allegedly shared a bed with.
Lincoln also wrote a poem about a marriage-like relationship between two men. His stepmother, Sarah Bush Lincoln, once revealed that he “never took much interest in the girls.“ Lincoln also frequently shared a bed with other men; however, that practice was very common during his era.
Pol Pot’s Genocide
Pol Pot led the Khmer Rouge from 1963 until 1997. From 1975 to 1979, about 1.5 million Cambodians (or 25 percent of the total population) died of starvation, execution, disease, lack of medical care or overwork. People who complained about work, hid their rations, or broke rules were often tortured in detention centers.
Some historians believe the death count during his reign is even higher. The aim of the Khmer Rouge was to create a classless peasant society, so they targeted educated people, city residents, ethnic Vietnamese, civil servants and religious leaders. Pol Pot died in 1998 and was never brought to justice for the genocide he orchestrated.