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Some ugly people have sat in the Oval Office.
Under the Trump Administration, some days it really is the little things that make you want to die. While often it is the wholesale destruction of the middle class or threatening war with North Korea, other days it is just the tacky Christmas decorations or the thought of the President appointing a poet laureate that makes you want to build a new life for yourself in a log cabin far away from civilization.
One of those little moments that gnaws at of your soul was the inclusion of President Trump in Disney’s Hall of Presidents this week. An animatronic version of Donald Trump will now terrorize Disney World, supplanting the Haunted Mansion as the park’s scariest attraction.
While the MAGA POTUS certainly looks nightmarish—the Imagineers perfectly captured his bulbous chin and thinning hairline—Trump’s is actually not the most horrific rendering of a commander-in-chief to land in Hall of Presidents. In fact, some of these animatronic are more ghoulish than America’s legacy of genocidal imperialism.
8. Andrew Johnson
One of our worst presidents, Johnson was also one of the least attractive. Johnson took office following Lincoln’s assassination and proceeded to totally botch Reconstruction, setting the stage for decades of white supremacist policies while looking very much like a poor man’s Jim Belushi.
7. William Howard Taft
President Taft is best remembered for two things: allegedly getting stuck in the White House bathtub and becoming the first and only POTUS to take a spot on the Supreme Court. Considering he actually tipped the scales at 350 pounds, Disney’s rendering is actually a slimming tribute.
6. Richard Nixon
The Imagineers are actually pretty kind of Nixon in this animatronic tribute. His vicious paranoia and serious drinking problem combined to somehow age the man well. Though politics ages everyone, looking at pictures from Tricky Dick’s “Checkers Speech” and his late Presidency shows a man utterly transformed by his demons. Apparently building a career by carrying water for anti-communist hysteria makes it difficult to sleep at night.
5. John Quincy Adams
Only slightly better looking than his father (we’ll get to him), JQA’s political career also had striking similarities to that of his old man. Like his dad, he was a capable diplomat. And like his dad, he was unappreciated in his time, serving only one term. Though he personally did not age well, his views have, as he was an early opponent of slavery and advocate of free speech.
4. Millard Fillmore
Best remembered today as the inspiration for a terrible political cartoon starring a conservative talking duck, Millard Fillmore is not one of our more beloved Presidents. Considering he was the architect of the pro-slavery Compromise of 1850 and wasn’t even nominated for a second term, he is probably worth forgetting. But, today, we remember him as a man who looked like if Alec Baldwin had really let himself go and had a pair of gnarly, untamed eyebrows.
3. Donald Trump
Though Trump’s Hall of President’s rendering isn’t the worst, it is a real achievement that his likeness is debuting in the top three. Many of our Presidents lacked the benefits of modern life, such as hygiene and dentistry. Nonetheless, The Donald has managed to look worse than some American pioneers with a life expectancy of 37 who were basically born with cholera. Thanks to his steady diet of Big Macs and Fox News, Trump’s body is as nostalgic as his policies, looking like a gilded age robber baron who subsisted on a diet of oysters and cigars.
2. John Adams
Sandwiched forever between the far more attractive George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, the squat, balding Adams didn’t exactly cut a striking figure while alive, and the same is true now. His appearance might have been such a strike against him that it has thrust him into the background of our country’s early history. Don’t feel too bad for the guy. If he didn’t look like this, he would never have been played by Paul Giamatti, and whom amongst us wouldn’t want that?
1. James Buchanan
By all accounts, Buchanan was a terrible President. His pro-slavery views just prior to the Civil War certainly don’t win him any points in the history books, and his indecisiveness was widely mocked in his day. And clearly, he also wasn’t much in the looks department either. This rendering, which makes him look like a vampiric plantation owner, isn’t too far off. He is only notable because he may have been our first (closeted) gay President. He lived much of his life with Senator Rufus King of Alabama, a relationship, that, to great historical irony, may have hardened his views on slavery.
Brenden Gallagher is a politics reporter and cultural commentator. His work has been published by Motherboard, Complex, and VH1. He’s the co-founder of Beer Money Films, an indie production company. Based in Los Angeles, he works in television drama as a writers assistant.