Lindsey Graham Is A Single Man Running For President — So What Would Happen To The FLOTUS Role?
The First Lady of the United States has become an unpaid full-time job, and when we elect a president, we're electing their entire family as well. There's already speculation about what the position would become if Hillary Clinton's elected — First Husband? First Gentleman? — but what would happen if the person elected doesn't have a spouse? Republican Lindsey Graham has never has been married, and he's the only presidential candidate that isn't. So what would happen to, well, the office of the First Lady?
Graham has never been married, and he has no kids. There's a long-standing rumor that Graham might be gay, but he's consistently denied it; he's also publicly opposed same-sex marriage. Regardless of his sexual orientation, though the fact of the matter is, he's single. What exactly would we do without a First Lady? Michelle Obama does a whole lot, after all, and the position has become a cultural emblem. If Graham were elected, there would simply be no one to fill the job.
But Graham wouldn't be the first single president. James Buchanan was also never married. Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, and Chester Arthur were all widowered before taking office and John Tyler, Benjamin Harrison, and Woodrow Wilson lost their wives while president.
That said, this was all before social media and TV made presidents and their families constant sources of news and entertainment. The role of FLOTUS, which was once similar to a stay-at-home mom's, has grown throughout the years. FLOTUS has become a strong role model for young women and typically takes on her own political and social projects.
Some of the former presidents without a spouse had other women fill the position, acting as a surrogate for FLOTUS' social obligations: James Buchanan had his niece, Harriet Lane, serve as his hostess at the White House while he was in office, for example.
Graham could ask his younger sister, Darline Graham Nordone, fill in for some of FLOTUS' traditional duties, but it just wouldn't be the same. It would also probably mean Nordone having to uproot her life to move into the White House with her brother. Or maybe he could just hire another staff member to act as Mrs. President.
Images: Getty Images (2)