Unpleasant Presidential-Vice Presidential Ties Throughout American History

It has become evident that in many cases, no love is lost between sitting Presidents and Vice Presidents, who often link up for electoral reasons, but often have poor chemistry in working together. And many times, a President has wished to “dump” his Vice President, when running for another term in office, and a few times has done so.

Examples of unpleasant Presidential-Vice Presidential relationships include:

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, with Jefferson, the opponent in the 1796 Presidential election, becoming Vice President, but leading to the 12th Amendment in 1804, to prevent any future such combination. The two men fought each other bitterly, and opposed each other again in 1800.

Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, “tied” in electoral votes in 1800, forcing the election to the House of Representatives, leading to Alexander Hamilton’s endorsement of Jefferson and trashing of Burr, and causing Hamilton’s death in a gun duel with Burr in 1804. Jefferson had no relationship with Burr, after Burr tried to “steal” the election, and he was “dumped” in 1804.

John Quincy Adams and John C Calhoun, who were rivals in 1824, had totally different views of the protective tariff, with Calhoun switching to support of Andrew Jackson and running with Jackson in 1828.

Andrew Jackson and John C. Calhoun were elected together in 1828, but Calhoun broke with Jackson over the protective tariff, resigning, and creating a potential threat of civil war, with the Nullification Crisis of 1833, resolved by a compromise devised by Henry Clay. Jackson even threatened to kill Calhoun if he promoted secession of South Carolina from the Union.

William Henry Harrison, elected with John Tyler in 1840, had totally divergent views since Tyler was a Democrat running on the Whig Party line, and Tyler succeeded to the Presidency when Harrison died after one month in office in 1841, and the Whigs made Tyler’s life miserable.

Abraham Lincoln and his first Vice President, Hannibal Hamlin, elected in 1860, hardly knew each other, and the indications are that Hamlin had no major role in the administration, and was replaced by Andrew Johnson on the ticket for 1864 for political reasons.

Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, elected together in 1864, with Lincoln picking Democrat Johnson to help win support in the North, then was assassinated, and succeeded by Johnson after six weeks of the second term in 1865.

James Garfield and Chester Alan Arthur were elected together in 1880, from different factions of the Republican Party, and when Garfield died from assassination wounds six months into office, Arthur finished up the rest of the term from 1881-1885.

Woodrow Wilson and Thomas Marshall were elected together in 1912, but Marshall was “kept out of the loop”, and when Wilson suffered a stroke in 1919, was denied access to the President by Mrs. Wilson, never knowing the extent of Wilson’s incapacity for the rest of the term to 1921.

Franklin D. Roosevelt and his first Vice President, John Nance Garner were elected to two terms together in 1932 and 1936, with Garner unhappy with the New Deal programs, and wanting to succeed FDR in 1940, and alienated when FDR ran for a third term in 1940.

Franklin D. Roosevelt and his second Vice President, Henry A. Wallace were elected together in 1940, but Wallace was “dumped” by FDR in 1944, to please Southern Democrats unhappy with Wallace’s advocacy of civil rights for African Americans, and his backing of close relations with the Soviet Union.

Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon were elected together in 1952 and 1956, but Ike wished to “dump” Nixon in 1956 although that did not happen, and he was less than supportive of Nixon in 1960 and 1968.

John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, elected together in 1960, were never close, having been rivals for the Presidential nomination, with LBJ feeling slighted by Robert F. Kennedy, the Attorney General and brother of the President, and rumors swirling that he would be “dumped” in 1964, if Kennedy had lived.

Lyndon B. Johnson and Hubert H. Humphrey were elected together in 1964, but with Humphrey feeling mistreated by LBJ, and unhappy as Vice President, seeing himself trapped, and being undermined when he was the Presidential nominee in 1968, and LBJ working against him when Humphrey ran against Richard Nixon.

Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew were elected together in 1968 and 1972, with Agnew feeling “used” by Nixon to do his “dirty work” against the news media, and gaining no support from Nixon when in legal trouble over accepting bribes, leading to his resignation in 1973. Agnew refused to speak ever again to his former boss.

Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush were never close, and the Bushes were never invited to the White House by the Reagans, after their two victories in elections in 1980 and 1984.

George H. W. Bush and Dan Quayle were elected together in 1988, with obvious discomfort by Bush as to Quayle’s performance in his term of office as Vice President, and considered “dumping” him in 1992, but not done in that losing re-election effort.

Bill Clinton and Al Gore, elected together in 1992 and 1996, got along well, but after the Monica Lewinsky scandal, a growing divide occurred between the two men, and Gore decided not to have Clinton help him in the Presidential campaign of 2000, and then the two men had angry words in a confrontation in the Oval Office after the defeat.

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, elected together in 2000 and 2004, originally worked well together, but Bush then ignored Cheney’s advice often in the second term, and refused Cheney’s request that Scooter Libby be given a pardon. Cheney, in his memoir, made clear that his relationship with Bush had cooled.

So often, the relationship between President and Vice President has been a very difficult one, an interesting aspect of American history!

Exceptions to this were the close relationship of Gerald Ford and Nelson Rockefeller between 1974 and 1977, although Rockefeller was “dumped” from the ticket in 1976 for Bob Dole, a move that Ford later said he did for political reasons, and greatly regretted; the extremely close ties between Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale between 1977-1981, with Mondale practically a “Co President”; and the present relationship between Barack Obama and Joe Biden since 2009.