“We haven’t had a Greek in the White House, but now we have Joe Bidenopoulos,” the then-vice president Biden told a 2009 Greek Independence Day celebration. He went on to tell the crowd that he is “an honorary Greek, not only today but every day,” courtesy of the 92 percent Greeks in Delaware who routinely vote for the current president. As a former senator he would routinely spend time with these Greek-Americans picking up phrases and anecdotes. While Biden may have been alive during the Greek Revolution, he is probably the only president that spoke some Modern Greek, albeit with phrases and sporadic Greek words. He is not the only president who spoke Greek…..

If Biden was able to pick up some basic Greek, what of the other presidents before him? Despite his predecessor being accused of being a Russian asset (Mulher Report), he barely spoke coherent English let alone German of his grandfather, and no Greek. Thankfully 23 other presidents spoke more than one language. Contrast that to Australia where only Labor’s Kevin Rudd could speak another language, Mandarin, a language that Herbert Hoover could also speak.

With one of the highest IQs of all presidents, Obama did not speak Greek, though he could speak conversational Indonesian from his four years living there with his mum. Its likely that Trump probably thinks he speaks Kenyan and Arabic, thanks to the lies created by Donald about the birth of Barrack Obama, which is actually Hawaii. His Kenyan father, whom he barely knew, died when he was ten, did not teach his son another language.

So, which presidents spoke spoke Greek? There were nine and they were taught Ancient Greek.

The first was Thomas Jefferson who was in office from 1801 to 1809. Though he did not converse in Classical Greek, he was able to read it. James Madison, his successor for the next eight years, the champion of the Bill of Rights, loved old languages and was fluent in a few of them including Latin, Hebrew and Classical Greek. He was the first to speak the language fluently. I wonder if he could order a Greek coffee in the language….

John Quincy Adams, president from 1825 to 1829 was near fluent in Classical Greek. He was the son of the second president and no, the surname Adams was not shortened like “Biden’s” from Adamopoulos, it is an English name. He did speak Russian, the first president who actually could, unlike the Russian “asset” Trump.

John Tyle, representing the conservative Whig Party between 1841 – 1845 was educated in Classical Greek, as was his Democrat successor John K Polk.

James Buchanan, who started his career as a member of the Federalist Party, became the Democrat Party president in 1857 to just before the outbreak of the Civil War. As lawyer, Buchanan studied Latin and Ancient Greek as part of his studies.

His successor Abraham Lincoln, a champion of abolitionism and with an IQ that would rival Obama’s, a lawyer as well, did not speak other languages, not even Greek. The next president who did was the one term Rutherford B. Hayes, from 1877. Hayes won a controversial election as a Republican and like many other presidents, the attorney had a thirst for Latin and Greek.

Another legal mind, James A. Garfield came to power in 1881 and like Lincoln, was assassinated, six months into his term but not at a theatre. He was succeeded by former New York lawyer, Chester A. Arthur. No Greek, or Cypriot in him, despite his fluency in Classical Greek. His heritage was from the United Kingdom.

Spiro Agnew, Nixon’s corrupt Republican Vice President, spoke Greek because he was Greek. Alas, he resigned in October 1973 and months later Nixon followed, over the Watergate tapping scandal. Spiro would have been the new president instead of Gerald Ford.

Theophrastos Anagnostopoulos his father was born in Messenia and taught his son Spiro Greek.In 1988, Michael Dukakis was on course to become the president as a Democrats. A failed tank stunt led to his decline in the polls and the rise of the Bush who gave the world some disastrous wars and more than a tank or two in places that US troops should not have been in.

Depending on how you look at it, the USA presidency has had nine or ten office holders who could speak some Greek. Let’s hope, with over 2.5 million Greeks in the United States, a Greek speaker will one day hold office and this time they don’t tank it.President Bidenopoulos will be at the inauguration for what will be a proud day for Hellenism.

*Billy Cotsis is the author of The Aegean Seven Take Back The Stolen Marbles