COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The centennial of President Warren G. Harding’s election was marked Monday in his home county in Ohio with a modest radio tribute rather than the grand museum and homestead re-opening envisioned before the pandemic.
Marion radio station WWGH made Harding the theme of morning and evening programming Monday, featuring a Harding impersonator and an interview with the son of Harding’s daughter with a lover, Nan Britton.
Harding, a Republican, was elected Nov. 2, 1920 — his 55th birthday — succeeding Democrat Woodrow Wilson. He beat a fellow Ohio newspaper publisher, James Cox, on a platform of restoring normalcy after World War I and the 1918 influenza pandemic.
Harding was popular in his lifetime, but his legacy was posthumously marred by scandals. Most notable was Tea Pot Dome, a bribery scheme involving government oil contracts that led to the nation’s first conviction of a member of a presidential Cabinet.
An extramarital relationship Harding had with Britton also emerged after his death.
Fallout from the relationship has continued. James Blaesing, the son of Britton’s daughter with Harding, is seeking to disinter Harding’s remains to prove with 100% certainty that the former president is his grandfather. Harding’s legal heirs are fighting the request, saying they have already accepted the veracity of Blaesing’s DNA results.
The Harding Memorial, which is outdoors, remains open during daylight hours. The museum and homestead is under renovation and closed to the public. The Ohio History Connection has said a grand reopening will take place at a later date.