Donald Trump on Thursday became the first former president ever to be indicted — though over 150 years ago a sitting president, Ulysses S. Grant, was arrested for speeding in his horse-drawn carriage.
Trump was indicted by a grand jury in Manhattan over alleged hush-money payments he made to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 elections. He’s expected to surrender and be arraigned next Tuesday, sources told The Post.
While a criminal case has never been brought against an ex-US president, back in 1872, Grant — the military general who won the Civil War for the Union, faced his own trouble with the law when he was a sitting president.
Grant was busted for speeding in his carriage at the corner of 13th and M streets in Washington D.C. when he was a sitting president, according to a report published at the turn of the century, the Washington Post reported.
Grant’s arrest was confirmed by former DC Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier in 2012, but the bizarre story was detailed in an article Sept. 27, 1908, edition of the Washington Evening Star in an article titled “Only Policeman Who Ever Arrested a President,” according to WaPo.
The arresting officer was William H. West — a Black man and Civil War veteran.
According to the article by 1908, West, then retired, “decided to let the public know the true story of the arrest.”
The Evening Star said Grant, who served as the 18th US President from 1869 to 1877, was a lover of fast horses and a skilled driver who would sometimes let his horses take off “to test their mettle.”
Police officers in the capital had received numerous complaints of speeding carriages and after a mother and child were badly hurt when they were run over, West was sent out to investigate.
While speaking with witnesses he saw another group of speeding carriages bounding towards him. One of them happened to be driven by the sitting president of the United States.
West held up his hand and stopped him, which Grant did with some trouble.
“Well, officer, what do you want with me?” Grant said, seeming a bit annoyed.
““I want to inform you, Mr. President, that you are violating the law by speeding along this street,” West responded respectfully. “Your fast driving, sir, has set the example for a lot of other gentlemen.”
Grant apologized, told the officer it wouldn’t happen again and galloped away, according to The Evening Star.
However the next night on the same corner, West saw the president and others flying down the street — reportedly so fast this time, that it took Grant an entire block to come to a stop.
After the second stop, Grant had “a smile on his face” that the paper said made him look like “a schoolboy who had been caught in a guilty act by a teacher,” the article said.
“Do you think, officer, that I was violating the speed laws?” Grant asked West, who told the president that he did.
Grant told the officer —like law enforcement officers still doubtlessly hearing countless times at traffic stops today — that he had no idea that he had been going too fast.
This time, West wasn’t having it.
“I am very sorry, Mr. President, to have to do it,” he said, “for you are the chief of the nation, and I am nothing but a policeman, but duty is duty, sir, and I will have to place you under arrest.”
WaPo noted that the standard of journalism were different at the time and it’s impossible to know the accuracy of the story — especially the quotes, which would have been over 35 years old at the time the story was published.
Grant and a number of other speeders were arrested and taken to the local police station. The president of the United States was ordered to put up 20 bucks as collateral.
A trial was held the next day. Grant never showed.
The other drivers reportedly received “heavy fines” and a “scathing rebuke” from a judge after 32 women testified against the speedsters.