Now that we can start to put the antics of Donald Trump behind us, let's revisit some of film's worst political savants.
As the U.S. and much of the world watch the transfer of power at the White House, many people have taken the opportunity to revisit pop culture's other laughable political failures with much less malaise.
"We can have it all, or we can smash it all. Why can't we work things out?... Why can't we all just get along?" President Dale pleads with alien invaders over swelling strings in Mars Attacks! The plea for unity is as lame as it sounds and ultimately results in President Dale's demise at the hands of earth's new alien overlords (this "truce," of course, happens only after the aliens have already destroyed the country).
But James Dale, as well as the other horrid politicians on this list, all have eerily similar qualities to former U.S. president Donald Trump. There are some truly horrendous movie presidents out there that make the circumstances of the last four years seem like child's play, but it is scary to think of what could have been and what still can be if Trump cranks his nonsense all the way up. Here are film's worst presidents, whose decisions defy all logic and whose actions aren't the least bit presidential.
President Greg Stillson – "The Dead Zone"
"Put your hand on the scanning screen, and you'll go down in history with me," President Greg Stillson tells his general. "As what? The world's greatest mass murder?"
Stillson remains probably the most despicable politician on this list. He single-handedly caused nuclear armageddon because the thought came to him "in a dream," and he used a child as a human shield during a shoot-out. An overall power-hungry nut job, Stillson blackmails and exploits everyone he meets and is overall just a bad, bad man.
President Merkin Muffley – "Dr. Strangelove..."
Another politician who sparked a nuclear holocaust, President Merkin Muffley is a feeble political person. When the U.S.S.R fires a nuclear missile towards the U.S. mainland, his go-to plan is to call the Soviet Union to apologize.
The apology is hilarious but in terms of the political climate hit a little too close to home. Muffley's demeanor seems eerily similar to Trump's, as it shows the consequences that come with trying to befriend a dictator.
"Dimitri, you know how we've always talked about the possibility of something going wrong with the bomb?" the president said. "Well now what happened is...one of our base commanders, he had a sort of...well, he went a little funny in the head, you know? And he went and did a silly thing."
President Richmond – "Absolute Power"
The rapist Commander-in-Chief in Absolute Power warrants disdain within the first 10 minutes of the film, and it only grows as the movie continues. President Richmond not only executes the murder of a young woman he's been seeing on the side, but he also covers it up via extortion, murder, and other sketchy acts.
He is similar to the White House's current occupant, as he is never seen actually governing America, only working towards clearing his name of any wrongdoing.
The President – "Escape From LA"
Merely referred to as The President, the Christian theocrat in Escape From LA decrees that those who refuse to conform to his vision of a "Moral America" will be either sentenced to death or exiled to Los Angeles–which he has deemed the "City of Sin."
Non-marital sex, tobacco and alcohol, red meat, firearms, and even cursing are all big no-no's for Peter Parker's uncle–I mean, The President. To maintain a death grip on his political power, he kills his hired gun on live TV and even orders the murder of his own daughter.
President Rathcock – "Machete Kills"
President Rathcock ain't no sissy. He's a man's man, bred for a tough America. He smokes, curses, legalized marijuana, and tightly secured the border against immigration, all while sporting an assault rifle in his campaign ad. He also enlisted Machete's help by force, saying plainly: "I'm not asking if you're interested, I'm the President of the United f**king States, man," before calling him a "hombre." Any of this sound familiar to anyone?
President Baxter Harris – "Scary Movie 3 & 4"
The dumbest president on this list by a landslide; it's a shock that President Baxter Harris was able to run a successful campaign. He becomes convinced in Scary Movie 3 that aliens have taken over handicapped human bodies and attacks members of the press as a result during a press conference.
In Scary Movie 4, his paranoia reaches an all-time high. He throws his wife out the window, burns The Declaration of Independence, and shreds the Constitution because he fears an imminent alien attack. Needless to say, he was a fearfully inadequate president.