7 Times the Children of a U.S. President Created Controversy

Presidents spend a lot of time building and maintaining their public image. Children bring scandal to the White House with nearly every administration. Here are seven times a U.S. president’s kids have created controversy.

Barbara and Jenna Bush

The Bush twins got in trouble with the law for underage drinking. | Kzenon/iStock/Getty Images

The Bush twins know how to cause drama. During George W. Bush’s administration, Barbara and Jenna were cited for underage drinking and known to dodge the Secret Service. “Jenna would purposely try to lose her protection by going through red lights or by jumping in her car without telling agents where she was going,”
Ronald Kessler writes in his book, In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes With Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect, according to the Daily Mail.

Amy Carter

the carter family in front of their christmas tree

When Amy Carter went to college, she caused trouble, which reflected poorly on her dad. | White House History Association

Amy Carter took protesting to another level during her father’s time in office. While attending college at Brown University, Amy participated in protests, where she was arrested four times — three times for protesting the South African apartheid and once while protesting CIA recruiting at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Mental Floss says. Eventually, she got kicked out of Brown for failing to complete her coursework.

Neil Bush

George H.W. Bush’s son caused controversy. | Jerome Delay/AFP/Getty Images

Neil Bush, the son of President George H.W. Bush, had an alleged conflict of interest in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Time says. People accused Neil of having a conflict of interest for sitting on the board directors for Silverado Banking Savings and Loan Association after they went bankrupt and received a hefty tax payout. A lawsuit ensued, putting scrutiny on the Bush family. “I was never asked, and I made it clear before joining the board that I never would intervene for Silverado in the regulatory process,” Neil told Time in 1990.

Alice Roosevelt

Boy jumping into the pool

Alice Roosevelt tried starting a pool party with members of Congress. | Nadezhda1906/iStock/Getty Images

Theodore Roosevelt said his daughter, Alice, was a handful, according to Mental Floss. A party girl of her day, she chewed gum, smoked in public, and took her pet snake to parties. The people loved her wild ways, even when her father didn’t. To capitalize on her reputation, Roosevelt sent Alice on a cruise with members of Congress, where she stayed true to herself. Supposedly, Alice jumped into the pool on the cruise fully clothed and asked Congress members to join her, Mental Floss says.

Donald Trump Jr.

donald trump jr in a dark suit and purple tie onstage

Donald Trump Jr. is under investigation. | Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump Jr. — the son of his namesake, President Donald Trump — is in hot water for meeting with a Russian lawyer, according to Time. Since details of the meeting have been revealed, Donald Trump Jr. has brought scandal to his father’s presidency while an investigation takes place.

Patti Davis

Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan with their family at Rancho del Cielo near Santa Barbara, California

Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan with their family at Rancho del Cielo near Santa Barbara, California | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The daughter of President Ronald Reagan, Patti Davis, made her own views clear during her father’s time in the White House. Patti openly opposed her dad’s views, Mental Floss says. In later years, she wrote a memoir about her family, recounting how her childhood was terrible. As a contributor to Town and Country magazine, Patti wrote about her upbringing saying, she “was a child railing against a parent, nothing more,” according to an excerpt in Politico.

Malia Obama

Obama family children

The Obama family before Barack Obama was elected president | Scott Olson/Getty Images

A freshman at Harvard University, Malia Obama was experiencing life as a college student. While tailgating before a football game, she was photographed kissing a young man and smoking cigarettes. Although her father, President Barack Obama, is no longer in the White House, her actions have created controversy.

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