September 27, 2022

Due to a quirk in the original constitutional framework, John Adams’ defeated opponent Thomas Jefferson actually served as his vice president for four years before ousting him in 1800. After John Quincy Adams won the presidency in 1825 in a four-way contest thrown to the House, his opponent Andrew Jackson accused him of securing victory through a “corrupt agreement” with another rival and spent four years plotting of revenge before winning in 1828.

William Howard Taft had to live with his attention magnet predecessor and mentor Theodore Roosevelt, who then turned on his former protégé to challenge him in 1912 in a race that both eventually lost to Woodrow Wilson. Herbert Hoover was a vocal critic of Franklin D. Roosevelt long after he lost the 1932 election and hoped to make a comeback, but never gained enough support to win his party’s nomination again.

The only president to ever successfully retake the White House after losing it, as Trump may be trying to do, was Grover Cleveland, who fell to Benjamin Harrison in 1888 and then defeated him in 1892. But even though Cleveland waited in the wings, Harrison still had a relatively free hand to run for president without his rival in the spotlight every day.

“Joe Biden is under a lot more pressure from his predecessor than Benjamin Harrison,” said Troy Senik, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush whose new Cleveland biography, “A Man of Iron,” will be published Sept. 20. “Unlike Donald Trump, Grover Cleveland remained largely out of the public eye after losing reelection in 1888, rarely spoke publicly and deeply hesitated to run for another term.”

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The prospect of being chased by a pastor drove Gerald R. Ford to pardon Richard M. Nixon after Watergate ousted the 37th president from office. Ford did not want his entire administration to be preoccupied with the spectacle of a former president being investigated and tried. But Mr Biden made it clear early on that he would not grant leniency to Mr Trump in the same way, even if it meant a distraction during his own presidency.

Mr Biden’s aides said they hope to use the distracting narrative as a contrast to make a point. To win back disgruntled Democrats and left-wing independents who were concerned that Mr. Biden was failing to deliver on his campaign promises, the White House plans to argue that the legislation and other actions of recent weeks show that, even if it is late, he is achieving priorities that are important to them.