Trump Joins Ulysses S. Grant as Only Two US Presidents to Be Arrested

Donald J. Trump on Tuesday joined Ulysses S. Grant on a list I’m sure he’d rather not be on—the only presidents of the United States to have been arrested. Trump surrendered to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office Tuesday and later pled not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree.

Grant’s crime over 150 years ago was much simpler—he was speeding. Not in a car, mind you, but while competing against his friends in a horse and buggy race. And, it turns out he was a repeat offender:

Ulysses S. Grant, who had an eye for spirited horses and an apparent yen to test their mettle, was arrested in 1872 for speeding on a street in Washington, where he had been driving a two-horse carriage. It was the second time in two days that the policeman had stopped the president; the first time, the officer had issued him a warning.

The press didn’t even report the story at the time; it didn’t become public until 1908 when the Sunday Star of Washington interviewed the then-retired officer, a black man named William West who served in the Union Army during the Civil War.

Here’s how the paper summed up the episode. I love the breathless prose; it feels like going back in time:

POLICEMAN WEST Tells the Story of Gen. Grant’s Arrest in 1872 for Fast Driving – President Was Satisfied to Go to the Station House – Gave $20 Collateral, Which Was Forfeited – Declared the Policeman Commended for His Attention to Duty, and Would Not Allow the Man to Suffer for Arresting Him – The General’s Love for Horses and His Pleasure in Driving Were the Cause of His Trouble – In After Years Was Always Genial and Friendly to the Colored Policeman.

Grant was actually impressed by the officer, seeing as “he admired a man who did his duty,” and didn’t hold a grudge:

[Grant and his friends] all had to put up $20 in bail — what was described in the news account as “collateral” — a sum that would be equivalent today to about $500.

The president, who had “the look of a schoolboy who had been caught in a guilty act by his teacher,” was good-natured about the arrest, according to the news account. He even drove Officer West in his carriage to the police station, where his arrest was processed.

Trump’s arrest is the closest thing we have to a historical comparison. However, unlike Grant, he most certainly is holding a grudge against his accuser, Manhattan Democrat District Attorney Alvin Bragg. He made his feelings known on Truth Social Tuesday morning:

While Grant’s speeding episode seems quaint and humorous after all these years, there’s nothing funny about Trump’s arrest and indictment. It’s sure to have far-reaching consequences which will be felt for years. In Grant’s case, an officer saw the president clearly violating a law; in Trump’s case, Bragg started with a conclusion that the ex-president was guilty and worked backward to find the crime.

RedState will keep you updated on all the new developments—you can be sure there will be many.

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