A brief history of some of America’s most fraught presidential transitions
Far from “lame ducks,” these U.S. presidents served out the end of their terms grappling with economic disasters, international crises—and even states seceding from the Union.
President Donald Trump’s final days in office have been historically tumultuous. After Trump spent months attempting to overturn the election with baseless claims of voter fraud, an armed mob of his supporters overran the U.S. Capitol to disrupt the counting of electoral college votes. On January 13—a week before the end of his term—Trump was impeached (for a second time) in the House of Representatives for inciting that insurrection.
Outgoing U.S. presidents have long been called “lame ducks,” a comment on how they are rendered weak by their dwindling days in office. Lame-duck presidents are expected to spend their waning days quietly carrying out administrative business and aiding an orderly transition as the nation looks to its newly