June and July are hot — for presidential deaths

June 17, 2013

Thomas Jefferson: a summer casualty. (Anonymous/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

According to a morbid-yet-fascinating analysis, more than a third of the nation’s 38 deceased presidents died in June or July. So while the rest of us are enjoying the season’s barbecues, boat rides, and picnics, presidents may do well to be extra-cautious.

According to Eric Ostermeier of Smart Politics, a blog of the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, six presidents have kicked the proverbial bucket in June and seven in July — including Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, who famously died only hours apart on Independence Day in 1826, followed by James Monroe exactly five years later.

That’s another way that, to mangle an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote, presidents are different from you and me: for the general populace, January is the most popular month in which to meet one’s maker.

The very safest month, though, for former White House occupants is May, Ostermeier writes. Not one single president has died in that month.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.
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