Warren G. Harding, who until 2016 was considered America’s worst president, was also pretty much America’s grossest horndog president, despite some fierce competition from pretty much all the rest of them. Rumors of his affairs abound, and the very first presidential sex scandal tell-all memoir was written about Harding by Nan Britton, who claimed Harding was the father of her daughter as the result of a sexual relationship that began when Britton was 20 and Harding was nearly 50. After growing up in the long shadow of his grandmother being labeled a money-hungry, Harding-obsessed liar, Britton and Harding’s grandson, James Blaesing, has been denied a request to exhume Harding’s body in an effort to prove once and for all that they are related.
An Ohio judge has ruled that Blaesing already has sufficient evidence to prove Harding was an old creep who impregnated a young woman out of wedlock and then left her to fend for herself, as the DNA link between Blaesing and Harding has been proven using data from Ancestry.com and matching with samples taken from Harding’s living relatives. However, the nearly hundred-year-old fight to prove Nan Britton wasn’t lying is about much more than one man wanting evidence he is related to a terrible president that most historians agree was extremely corrupt and just all-around kind of a dick who thought about his own dick above nearly anything else.
According to Politico, Harding’s fascination with his own junk and the vaginas of his myriad affair partners is incredibly well documented. He was known to call his penis “Jerry” and named one mistress’s vagina “Mrs. Pouterson.” In a letter to one of these women, Harding spoke on behalf of old Jerry: “Jerry came and will not go,” the letter reads. “[S]ays he loves you, that you are the only, only love worthwhile in all this world, and I must tell you so and a score or more of other fond things he suggests, but I spare you. You must not be annoyed. He is so utterly devoted that he only exists to give you all.”
For her part, Britton has said she was a virginal teenager who had decorated her bedroom in his campaign posters when she met Harding, with whom she had a sexual relationship spanning six years that began when she was 20. The Vice squad once busted the pair in a New York City hotel room, and she claimed that their baby was conceived on his Senate office couch. Harding privately acknowledged his paternity, with the Secret Service delivering child support payments for the care of a daughter (who was the married Harding’s only known child) he never met until his death in 1923. After his death, with no way to support her child, Britton penned the memoir and that was widely condemned as made-up smut by his political cronies, who called Britton a “deranged pervert, a gold-digging liar, a slut,” with one congressman introducing a bill to the House that would ban the sale of the book and thus thwart what he saw as a cash grab on Britton’s part.
And the fight continues to this day, stoked perhaps in part by Blaesing’s efforts to clear his grandmother’s name but also by Harding relatives who have made an equal effort to maintain the old “money-grubbing slut” narrative that has so long shielded Harding from historical acknowledgment of what a fucking gross old dirtbag he was:
“But one faction of the Harding family that was dismissive of Mr. Blaesing had cast doubt on the Ancestry genealogy, ostensibly because it was a relatively new, though reliable, method,” the New York Times reports. “So Mr. Blaesing sought to go further to establish direct proof that President Harding was his grandfather.”
Once Blaesing took that next step, requesting an exhumation to prove what he knew to be true, the surviving Hardings suddenly changed their tune, writing letters to the court accepting the Ancestry results and asking that their dead relative’s dusty old boner remain locked in its shroud. But to make the story even weirder, the Times also reports that part of the family’s hesitancy to have the body exhumed could come from the family’s fears that this is really a fishing expedition to uncover whether or not Harding actually died of poisoning at the hands of his wife, Florence:
“There is a conspiracy theory, Dr. Harding [Warren G. Harding’s great nephew] said, that President Harding was poisoned by his wife. He was concerned that seeking to prove or disprove that theory on television was the motive for the exhumation.”
A film production company, intrigued by the idea of a presidential exhumation, recently began inquiring about documenting the process, and though lawyers for Blaesing insist that his story would be the primary narrative in any documentary, they don’t exactly say that it wouldn’t work the poisoning angle:
“In an email to The New York Times in September [Blaesing’s attorney wrote that] Mr. Blaesing’s story would be the focus of any film produced but that, should the body be exhumed, Magilla Entertainment might consider toxicology testing to seek “‘additional information about the president’s health and sudden death.’”
The family of this creep’s only living (and abandoned) child should bleed every penny they can from this story and deserves the right to poke his old corpse with a stick until all the secrets shake out, for both their financial benefit and my morbid entertainment.