May 23, 2024
  • 3:18 pm Several area seniors receive AgTexas scholarships
  • 3:17 pm 8 area students receive Five Area Connect Scholarships
  • 3:14 pm Muleshoe City Council considers childcare facility tax exemption
  • 3:14 pm This is what the Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge Expansion means for landowners
  • 3:13 pm Muleshoe Art Association holds last meeting of the year

In the introduction to Sunday’s 60 Minutes interview with President Joe Biden, Scott Pelley mentioned that Biden’s lifelong stutter occasionally returns, and that his voice is sometimes weak.

Joe Biden is 80 years old. In November, he will turn 81. Biden was 77 at the time of the 2020 election and turned 78 before he took office. He is the oldest president ever elected. Before that, Donald Trump, at 70, was the oldest person elected president.

Prior to that, Ronald Reagan at 69 was the oldest to take the oath of office. A total of eight presidents were in their 60s when they took office.

William Henry Harrison was 68 when he took office. He died 31 days afterwards. Arguably, age may have been a factor in his death, but, according to Wikipedia, modern researchers believe he died of typhoid due to unsanitary sewer connections in the White House.

Another president over the age of 60 was Zachary Taylor, who was 64 when he took the oath office. Taylor died of a bacterial infection in his small intestine a year after taking office. Again, age may or may not have been a factor.

In any case, being president is a dangerous job. Most of us know that four presidents, Abraham Lincoln, John Garfield, William McKinley and John F. Kennedy, were assassinated. However, in addition to Harrison and Taylor, two other presidents, William Harding and Franklin Roosevelt, died in office.

Of 45 presidents, eight have died in office. That’s more than 17 percent of presidents elected so far. We might also factor in Richard Nixon, who was forced to resign from office, and say the odds of a president not finishing his or her term is 20 percent.

And there have been several close calls.

 Many of us remember the day Ronald Reagan was shot. He survived thanks to the miracle of modern medicine. Two different women attempted to shoot Gerald Ford, one of them at point-blank range. Theodore Roosevelt survived being hit by a bullet only because he had a steel eyeglass case and a copy of his speech tucked into his breast pocket. Although wounded, the Rough Rider delivered his speech.

A quick glance through the Wikipedia article “List of United States presidential assassination attempts” shows 16 different presidents were targeted by methods ranging from pipe bombs to poison. In one instance, a would-be assassin stole a forklift planning to overturn the president’s vehicle as it drove past in a motorcade.

The vice president of the United States has two jobs. The first is to preside over the Senate and cast the tie-breaking vote if necessary. The second and more important job is to be ready to serve at a moment’s notice to assume the Presidency if the President is unable to perform his or her duties.

Nine vice presidents have had to do exactly that.

Gail M. Williams

Muleshoe Journal Contributor

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