We think of presidents as different from us. And, in many ways, they are, starting with the confidence to gaze in the bathroom mirror and think, “I should be leader of the free world.”
The presidency is among America’s most exclusive clubs. Its members’ every decision, speech, interview and now tweet are reported around the globe. Unlike mere mortals generally confined to the dustbin of history, presidents are memorialized with monuments, presidential libraries, biographies, highways, airports, public schools, coffee mugs and possibly legal tender.
In this club, which remains singularly male, there are distinctions.
Millard Fillmore remains the sole Millard, possibly for eternity. Andrew Johnson was the first president to be impeached, though certainly not the last.
Franklin D. Roosevelt is the only president to be elected four times. Also, to marry a woman who shared the same surname.
John F. Kennedy was the first Catholic president; Ronald Reagan, the first actor and also the first to have divorced; Barack Obama, the first African American.
Even among firsts, the man about to become the 45th president is unprecedented. As he assumes office, Donald J. Trump can boast more firsts than the men who presided before him:
●The first president to have never performed public service, either by holding public office or serving in the military.
●The first to be born and raised in Queens.
●The first to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania, specifically its Wharton School. And to attend Fordham before transferring to Penn in his junior year.
●At age 70, the oldest man to be inaugurated president. (Ronald Reagan was 69.)
●The first president to build and reside at the top of a 58-story skyscraper. And to develop hotels. And casinos. And golf courses. (However, he becomes one
of multiple presidents who share an inexhaustible enthusiasm for the sport.)
●The first president to be the subject of a Comedy Central Roast.
●Among the nation’s richest presidents, and the first who is a billionaire.
●The first president to have not disclosed his tax returns during the campaign since the tradition began in 1976.
●The first to own an airliner. His, a Boeing 757, features more gold-plated features than Air Force One — gold-plated seat belts and bathroom fixtures, plus a family crest — though it is not larger as Trump has claimed.
●The first president to really love Twitter, unleashing more than 34,000 tweets — twice as many as his White House predecessor — with no signs of stopping.
●The first president to have hosted a reality show.
●And the first to still hold the title of executive producer of one.
●The first president who was once described in a New York tabloid headline as “Best Sex I’ve Ever Had.” Those words were allegedly uttered by his then-girlfriend (and future wife) Marla Maples.
●The first president to marry three times. And divorce twice.
●He will not be the first president with a foreign-born first lady, a distinction held by John Quincy Adams. But he will be the first in almost two centuries.
●He will not be the first to be married to a former model. Betty Ford also modeled. However, he will be the first to be married to a former model who posed topless.
●Trump will be the first president to author or co-author a veritable library of motivational books — more than a dozen — before taking the oath of office.
●Also, the first president to be a brand. The first to have bottled water bearing his name. And steaks. And a clothing line.
●The first president to have hosted “Saturday Night Live.” (He did it twice.) Or to make myriad television and film appearances, including on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “The Jeffersons,” “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York,” “The Nanny,” “Sex and the City,” “WWE Raw” and “WrestleMania,” virtually all of them in his favored role, “Himself.”
●The first president to appear on Howard Stern’s radio program. Repeatedly. And brag about his sex life and discuss women’s appearances.
●In all likelihood, he will not be the first president to use vulgar language while discussing women. He will be the first to be recorded using such language, have it widely reported, and still be elected.
●He will be the first president to have owned beauty pageants.
●The first to reside in a three-story Fifth Avenue penthouse inspired by the style of Louis XIV, with ornate marble columns and flourishes of 24-karat gold.
●The first president to have been the target of a Justice Department discrimination investigation and civil suit.
●Jefferson founded a university. Dwight Eisenhower and Woodrow Wilson served as university presidents. Trump will be the first to have an eponymous “university,” which was a real-estate-seminar program.
●The first president to have so many items for sale named after himself, from shirts to fragrance to vodka. (Trump, like many presidents before him, does not drink alcohol.)
●Several presidents, including Harry S. Truman and Ulysses S. Grant, suffered financial reversals. Trump will be the first to have his companies file for bankruptcy six times.
●The first to enter the White House with such a low favorability rating (40 percent) of any president-elect since Gallup began transition polling in the 1990s.
●He will be the first Donald.
Historians Robert Dallek and H.W. Brands contributed to this report, as well as Washington Post reporters Marc Fisher and Michael Kranish.