They say that life begins at 60 – and these guys ended up becoming President of the United States into their seventh decade.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Born on October 14, 1890, Eisenhower was 64 by the time of his inauguration in 1953. Apart from being a five-star general in the United States Army and serving as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe during the Second World War, Eisenhower was famous for ending the Korean War by hinting that he would use nuclear weapons to break the stalemate. He provided South Vietnam with financial assistance after the French left in 1954 and ensured that the British, French and Israelis ceased hostilities during the 1956 Suez crisis. Eisenhower established NASA after the Soviets launched Sputnik in 1957.
Zachary Taylor was 64 by the time of his inauguration in 1849, born on November 24, 1784. He was elected to office with no defined political philosophy. With the threat of secession causing a crisis, Taylor avoided the issue of slavery by urging settlers in New Mexico and California to draft constitutions, setting the stage for the 1850 Compromise. He died suddenly of a stomach-related illness in July 1850.
George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush was 64 year-old at the time of his inauguration. He was born on June 12, 1924. He served in the US Navy after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 7 December, 1941. He graduated from Yale University in 1948. Following his years running an oil company, Bush became a member of the House of Representatives from 1966-1970. He became Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in the People’s Republic of China envoy in 1971 and subsquently head of the CIA under President Ford. Vice President (1981-1989) under President Reagan, Bush became president himself in 1989-1993, losing to Bill Clinton in the 1992 election.
Bush died in November 2018, aged 94.
James Buchanan was born on April 23, 1791. He was 65 when he became President in 1857. Buchanan allied with the South to allow Kansas to enter the Union as a slave state on January 29, 1861, and he alienated both Republicans and Democrats in the process. Buchanan earned the nickname ‘Doughface’ for his Southern sympathies despite being from the North. After the American economy was negatively impacted by the Panic of 1857, he said he would not stand for re-election in 1860.
William H. Harrison
William H. Harrison served one month as US president in 1841. He was 68 by the time of his inauguration. Harrison and his Vice President, John Tyler, became known as ‘Tippecanoe and Tyler Toe,’ defeating Van Buren in the 1840 election. Sadly, he died of pneumonia after assuming office, leaving Tyler to take over the presidency.
Ronald Reagan was 69 on his inauguration in 1980. He was born on February 6, 1911. An actor before going into politics, Reagan starred in 19 films before 1939, including Dark Victory with Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart. On May 25, 1937, he became a second lieutenant in the Officers’ Reserve Corps. His first experience with politics came in 1947-52, when he served as president of the Screen Actors’ Guild. He became president of the Guild again in 1959-60 and secured residuals for actors whose films appeared on television. He then served as governor of California from 1967-1975. Reagan championed low taxes, individual freedom and the end of Communism when he became US president.
Donald Trump was 70 when inaugurated in 2017. He was born on June 14, 1946. As president, he enacted a tax cut for citizens. These tax cuts also rescinded the individual health insurance mandate and legalised oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean. He partially repealed the Dodd-Frank Act that restricted banking activity The Dodd-Frank Act was signed into law by President Obama in July 2010 and it tightened the regulation of the financial markets and credit agencies.
Trump has withdrawn America from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations, the Iran Nuclear Deal and the Paris Climate Agreement. Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, triggered a trade war with China and began the denuclearisation of North Korea. He presided over the longest government shutdown in history from 22nd December 2018-25th January 2019, after failing to come to an agreement with Democrats over his Southern Border wall plans.