The only president elected to the White House for two non-consecutive terms is the subject of two forthcoming biographies, both of which promise to expose some of his dirty little secrets.
The first to roll off the press is journalist Matthew Algeo’s account of a secret surgery Cleveland underwent in the summer of 1893. It’s titled (take a deep breath) “The President Is a Sick Man: Wherein the Supposedly Virtuous Grover Cleveland Survives a Secret Surgery at Sea and Vilifies the Courageous Newspaperman Who Dared Expose the Truth.”
Algeo details an operation Cleveland had on a friend’s yacht to remove a cancerous tumor from his jaw and how the one journalist who reported on it had his career ruined (but the book’s subtitle pretty much told you that). It comes out on May 1.
But wait! There’s more!
If hush-hush medical issues don’t whet your appetite, perhaps this skeleton in Cleveland’s closet will be more to your liking.
Arriving on Aug. 1 is “A Secret Life: The Sex, Lies, and Scandals of President Grover Cleveland.” Executive producer of TV’s Inside Edition Charles Lachman reports on the illegitimate child Cleveland fathered before he became president.
The story “read[s] like a sordid romance” claims the publisher. Indeed, this biography holds nothing back: there are “allegations of rape, violence, slander, prostitution, and Cleveland’s bizarre act of forcing the unwed mother, Maria Halpin, into an insane asylum and forcing his son into an orphanage.”
Presidents may fall in and out of fashion, but a good Washington sex scandal never goes out of style — even if it’s more than a century old.