Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) created a small grass-fire in the arena of the 2016 presidential campaigns this week when he hinted that he might be considering forming a presidential exploratory committee. Gohmert’s staff quickly backpedaled and said the Congressman was making a joke. A Congressional staffer for Gohmert jokingly said there will be “no more bald presidents in his lifetime.”
The short-term drama began when The Hill asked Gohmert if he would be supporting Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) in his bid for President in 2016. “Ted is a good friend and would be an outstanding President; however, I haven’t ruled out an exploratory committee myself,” Gohmert said in a an email statement sent by his spokeswoman.
Sometime later the aide responded to an inquiry from the Texas Tribune about Gohmert’s presidential aspirations. “Washington D.C. contains too many who do not recognize statements made with a figurative tongue in cheek, sometimes known as being ironic,” the aide wrote in the emailed response. “To more completely describe his actual beliefs, Congressman Gohmert notes the Kennedy-Nixon debates created a line of demarcation beyond which television became the critical factor in being elected President which also meant there would be no more bald Presidents in his lifetime.”
Gohmert ran a short campaign for Speaker of the House of Representatives in January. He was later appointed by Speaker Boehner as chairman of the Republican Study Committee. Gohmert is considered by many to be one of the most conservative members of Congress. The Texas Congressman is also a favorite among Texas grassroots activists.
Recently, Gohmert made headlines during a congressional hearing on the FCC’s attempt to implement net neutrality. “Before the FCC stepped in, everybody was able to explore new business models,” Gohmert yelled, according to The Hill. “The only business is now you’re playing God with the Internet, while saying ‘I’ll leave some room for you to come up with new business models.’ That’s not your job!”
Another example of Gohmert’s sharp-tongued sense of humor came during a 2013 interrogation of Attorney General Eric Holder. After Holder pushed back against Gohmert’s questioning, Gohmert admonished the Attorney General by saying, “The Attorney General will not cast aspersions on my asparagus.”
In reference to Gohmert’s comments about bald presidents, since the era of televised presidential campaigns began, no bald man has been elected as President of the United States. Presidents Johnson, Nixon and Bush (41) would certainly be considered “balding.” Only Gerald Ford has served as president while being a bald man but he was never elected to the office. Ford was appointed Vice President by Richard Nixon after the resignation of Spiro Agnew. Ford succeeded Nixon after his resignation from the presidency in 1974. Dick Cheney was the only bald man elected as Vice President during the same period.
Prior to the television era of presidential campaigns, seven bald men served as American Presidents.