Mask Up

Which US Presidents Do You Wish Were In Charge Right Now?

List Rules
Vote up the commanders in chief you think could provide the most competent and, yes, commanding leadership during a global pandemic.

The presidency involves plenty of responsibilities both practical and symbolic. That means anyone elected to this august office ends up praised for things they didn't actually do and condemned for things that aren't actually their responsibility. By all accounts, that's part of the job. Still, the sometimes-fickle, sometimes-accurate sentiments of the American public mean that popular presidents could wield Mjolnir like a superhero while unpopular presidents are subject to endless scrutiny and debate.

In the midst of a pandemic that has disrupted life around the world, it's worth asking just which former (or current) presidents the populace wishes could handle the crisis. If you could wave a magic wand, would you want someone to provide moral and spiritual comfort even if they come from a time before germ theory? Or would you hope for someone with the ability to mobilize a coherent and competent international effort in the tradition of a 20th or 21st century wartime president?

Ranked by
  • Abraham Lincoln
    1
    Dec. at 56 (1809-1865)
    • Birthplace: Hodgenville, Kentucky, United States of America
    • Presidency: 16
    • V.P.: Andrew Johnson, Hannibal Hamlin
  • Theodore Roosevelt
    2
    Dec. at 60 (1858-1919)
    • Birthplace: Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States of America
    • Presidency: 26
    • V.P.: Charles W. Fairbanks
  • John F. Kennedy
    3
    Dec. at 46 (1917-1963)
    • Birthplace: USA, Massachussetts, Brookline
    • Presidency: 35
    • V.P.: Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt
    4
    Dec. at 63 (1882-1945)
    • Birthplace: Hyde Park, New York, United States of America
    • Presidency: 32
    • V.P.: John Nance Garner, Henry A. Wallace, Harry S. Truman
  • Ronald Reagan
    5
    Dec. at 93 (1911-2004)
    • Birthplace: Tampico, Illinois, USA
    • Presidency: 40
    • V.P.: George H. W. Bush
  • George Washington
    6
    Dec. at 67 (1732-1799)
    • Birthplace: Virginia, United States of America
    • Presidency: 1
    • V.P.: John Adams
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower
    7
    Dec. at 78 (1890-1969)
    • Birthplace: Denison, Texas, United States of America
    • Presidency: 34
    • V.P.: Richard Nixon
  • Barack Obama
    8
    • Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
    • Presidency: 44
    • V.P.: Joe Biden
  • Thomas Jefferson
    9
    Dec. at 83 (1743-1826)
    • Birthplace: Shadwell, Virginia, United States of America
    • Presidency: 3
    • V.P.: Aaron Burr, George Clinton
  • Harry Truman
    10
    Dec. at 88 (1884-1972)
    • Birthplace: Lamar, Missouri, USA
    • Presidency: 33
    • V.P.: Alben W. Barkley
  • Ulysses S. Grant
    11
    Dec. at 63 (1822-1885)
    • Birthplace: Point Pleasant, Ohio, United States of America
    • Presidency: 18
    • V.P.: Schuyler Colfax, Henry Wilson
  • Donald Trump
    12
    • Birthplace: New York, New York, USA
    • Presidency: 45
    • V.P.: Mike Pence
  • Jimmy Carter
    13
    • Birthplace: Plains, Georgia, United States of America
    • Presidency: 39
    • V.P.: Walter Mondale
  • John Adams
    14
    Dec. at 90 (1735-1826)
    • Birthplace: Braintree, Massachusetts, USA
    • Presidency: 2
    • V.P.: Thomas Jefferson
  • Bill Clinton
    15
    • Birthplace: Hope, Arkansas, USA
    • Presidency: 42
    • V.P.: Al Gore
  • George H. W. Bush
    16
    • Birthplace: Milton, Massachusetts, United States of America
    • Presidency: 41
    • V.P.: Dan Quayle
  • George W. Bush
    17
    • Birthplace: New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America
    • Presidency: 43
    • V.P.: Dick Cheney
  • James Madison
    18
    Dec. at 85 (1751-1836)
    • Birthplace: Port Conway, Virginia, USA
    • Presidency: 4
    • V.P.: Elbridge Gerry, George Clinton
  • Andrew Jackson
    19
    Dec. at 78 (1767-1845)
    • Birthplace: Waxhaws
    • Presidency: 7
    • V.P.: Martin Van Buren, John C. Calhoun
  • James Monroe
    20
    Dec. at 73 (1758-1831)
    • Birthplace: Monroe Hall, Virginia, United States of America
    • Presidency: 5
    • V.P.: Daniel D. Tompkins
  • John Quincy Adams
    21
    Dec. at 80 (1767-1848)
    • Birthplace: Braintree, Massachusetts, United States of America
    • Presidency: 6
    • V.P.: John C. Calhoun
  • Lyndon Johnson
    22
    Dec. at 64 (1908-1973)
    • Birthplace: Stonewall, Texas, United States of America
    • Presidency: 36
    • V.P.: Hubert Humphrey
  • Gerald Ford
    23
    Dec. at 93 (1913-2006)
    • Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska, USA
    • Presidency: 38
    • V.P.: Nelson Rockefeller
  • Calvin Coolidge
    24
    Dec. at 60 (1872-1933)
    • Birthplace: Plymouth Notch, Vermont, Vermont, USA
    • Presidency: 30
    • V.P.: Charles G. Dawes
  • Woodrow Wilson
    25
    Dec. at 67 (1856-1924)
    • Birthplace: Virginia, United States of America
    • Presidency: 28
    • V.P.: Thomas R. Marshall