Which US presidents only served one term? Donald Trump joins 9 leaders who didn’t do a second term in the White House

It is the first time since the early 1990s that a president has failed to win a second term

With his time in the White House now up, Donald Trump has joined a select group of politicians who served only one presidential term in office.

The billionaire businessman became the 45th President of the United States of America in 2017 when he defeated Hillary Clinton to succeed Barack Obama, but his hopes of another four years in power were dashed by Democratic candidate Joe Biden.In an election race which saw the largest voter turnout in 120 years - and received worldwide media attention - Trump has consistently made unsubstantiated claims of voting fraud in a result which saw his challenger surpass the 270 electoral college vote threshold required for victory.

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Biden was certified the 46th president of the United States of America on 7 January – hours after a mob of Trump supporters attacked the Capitol building, which killed four people – ahead of his inauguration on 20 January.

Donald Trump boards Air Force One for his last time as president on 20 January 2021. (Pic: Getty Images)Donald Trump boards Air Force One for his last time as president on 20 January 2021. (Pic: Getty Images)
Donald Trump boards Air Force One for his last time as president on 20 January 2021. (Pic: Getty Images)

It is the first time since the early 1990s that a president has failed to win a second term in the Oval Office, with Trump receiving membership to the One-Term Club alongside the following nine former POTUS (President of the United States) listed below, starting with the most recent.

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George HW Bush - 1989-1993

Bush senior became the 41st POTUS when he was voted to office in 1989.

His biography stated he wanted to make America a kinder and gentler nation but his time in office was short and he was beaten in 1993 by Bill Clinton.

Clinton, a Democratic nominee, served two terms before he was succeeded by Bush's son, George W Bush, who also served two terms.

Bush senior died in November 2018, aged 94.

Jimmy Carter - 1977-1981

POTUS no.39, Carter, worked hard to "combat the continuing economic woes of inflation and unemployment", according to the White House website.

Yet he only survived one term in office and was beaten by Ronald Reagan in 1981.

A member of the Democratic Party, Carter's work continued and in 2002 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for work to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.

Gerald Ford - 1974-1977

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Republican Ford became the first unelected POTUS following the resignation of Richard Nixon after the Watergate scandal.

The 38th president pardoned Nixon and Americans made sure their voices were heard at the voting booth, as Carter took the win.

Herbert Hoover - 1929-1933

Shortly after Hoover was elected, the US endured the Great Depression following a monumental stock market crash.

The 31st POTUS (Republican) responded by cutting taxes and expanding public works spending to keep the Federal budget balanced.

His biography on the White House website stated: “In 1931 repercussions from Europe deepened the crisis, even though the President presented to Congress a program asking for creation of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to aid business, additional help for farmers facing mortgage foreclosures, banking reform, a loan to states for feeding the unemployed, expansion of public works, and drastic governmental economy. At the same time he reiterated his view that while people must not suffer from hunger and cold, caring for them must be primarily a local and voluntary responsibility.”

In 1933 he lost to Franklin D. Roosevelt who went on to complete three terms.

William Howard Taft – 1909-1913

Taft - POTUS no.27 - is the only president to go on to serve as chief justice. A Republican, Taft lost the 1913 election to Woodrow Wilson. He was appointed chief justice between 1921-1930 and for Taft this was his greatest honor. “I don’t remember that I ever was President,” he wrote.

Benjamin Harrison – 1889-1893

During his election campaign, Harrison was one of the first to deliver short speeches to delegations that visited him in Indianapolis.

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Known as a 'front-porch' campaign, according to the White House website.

It brought the desired result, as he became the 23rd POTUS, before he was ousted in 1893 by Grover Cleveland. He was a Republican.

Martin Van Buren – 1837-1841

A founder of the Democratic Party, Van Buren served as vice president and secretary of state under Andrew Jackson before he became POTUS no.8 in 1837.

He was beaten by William Henry Harrison in 1841.

John Quincy Adams – 1825 -1829

JQ Adams wore many hats during his public career. He was a member of multiple political parties, served as a diplomat, a senator and a member of the House of Representatives as well as becoming POTUS no.6. He was a member of the Whig Party at the time.

John Adams – 1797-1801

And way back in 1801, Adams became the first president to fail to serve a second term when he was beaten by Thomas Jefferson. Adams represented the Federalist Party and had served as the first vice president under George Washington.

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