In the FOX hit show 24, the President of the United States was always a key supporting character. All the presidents actively supported or sabotaged protagonist Jack Bauer’s efforts in averting terrorist attacks. A good number of them served as Vice Presidents too before inheriting the White House.
The fictional presidents in the series never had it easy either. The majority of them faced constant threats to their lives and suffered personal tragedy as their family members were either killed or injured by villains. In total, there were nine presidents in 24. Here is a ranking of each POTUS, from the worst to the best.
9 Charles Logan
Logan was not only one of the show’s best villains but also the most ineffective president. He was involved in the assassination of David Palmer and the sale of Sentox VX nerve gas in order to get more oil for America. He then tried to use the government apparatus at his disposal to cover up his crimes.
He also struggled with making decisions and constantly fought with his wife as well as the head of Secret Service. Luckily, Logan was removed from office when Jack Bauer and First Lady Martha exposed him. Logan was arrested and placed under house arrest. He appeared again on Day 8, where he had more altercations with Jack Bauer.
8 Noah Daniels
Like many other Vice Presidents in the show, Noah Daniels was villainous. He was hell-bent on attacking the Middle East even though it was a bad decision. And after assuming the presidency via the 25th Amendment, he decided to pardon Charles Logan for all his crimes.
In the film 24: Redemption that connected Day 6 and Day 7, Daniels lost his re-election bid to Senator Allison Taylor. As he was preparing to hand over power, Prime Minister Ule Matobo of Sangala requested him for military help as his country was being torn apart by rebels. Keeping up with his antagonistic nature, Daniels refused. His decision to decline was a misinformed one because the same rebels ended up terrorizing America in Day 7.
7 James Prescott
Prescott established himself as the most hated character on Day 2. As the Vice President, he schemed with David Palmer’s Chief Of Staff, Mike Novick to invoke the 25th Amendment, declaring him unfit to lead. This was because Palmer wasn’t ready to declare war on three middle-eastern countries.
The cabinet thus voted Prescott in to be Acting President in the meantime. After learning that he was wrong all along, Prescott was forced to offer his resignation, though Palmer declined it. A short while later, an attempt was made on Palmer’s life, forcing Prescott to take power once again.
6 John Keeler
President John Keeler wasn’t likable either, thanks to his battles with David Palmer who he tried to blackmail. After Palmer dropped out of the presidential race, Keeler had a smooth run to the oval. He served as president on Day 4 but his stay at the White House was short-lived too.
A former Air Force captain working for the terrorist Habib Marwan stole a fighter jet and shot at Air Force One. An escort fighter jet was shot instead but its explosion damaged Air Force One, causing it to crash. Keeler was left incapacitated and as a result, his Vice President Charles Logan assumed office.
5 Hal Gardner
Gardner was sworn in as president after the arrest and dismissal of President Logan at the end of Day 5. Before becoming president, he had repeatedly questioned the integrity of President Logan. When Logan accused Bauer of killing David Palmer, Gardner didn’t believe him. He also believed Heller when he accused Logan of working with terrorists.
What happened to him after Day 5 was never revealed. It’s possible that he either chose not to run after his time as Acting President ended or he was defeated by Wayne Palmer who was president at the start of Day 6.
4 Wayne Palmer
Rarely do you see two brothers becoming president but it happened in 24. David Palmer’s brother Wayne led the country on Day 6. He was responsible for securing Jack’s release after making a deal with the Chinese.
Sadly, Wayne’s presidency was problematic. For most of the season, he was incapacitated after suffering brain damage from an assassination attempt. He forced himself to return back to work before recovering in order to prevent Vice President Noah Daniels from attacking the Middle East. He suffered a hemorrhage hours later and in 24; Redemption, it was revealed that he died.
3 Allison Taylor
As the first female president, Taylor’s time in office on Day 7 was far from smooth. The White House was attacked by terrorists from Sangala in a plot that definitely inspired films such as Olympus Has Fallen. By the end of Day 7, her son was dead, her husband was badly injured, and her daughter was in prison.
Taylor made the mistake of asking Logan for help in negotiating with the Russians since he had a good relationship with them. He corrupted her just enough to make her cover up the Russians’ involvement in IRK President Omar Hassan’s death. She proved she was still good when she acknowledged her mistake and offered to resign. Bonus points for advising Jack to flee the country to avoid capture.
2 James Heller
Heller couldn’t stand Jack at first. He hated the fact that his daughter Audrey was in love with Jack because every woman who dated the CTU agent always ended up dying. By 24: Live Another Day, Heller had become president and was forced to work with Jack when a terrorist attack occurred while he visited the UK.
The bond between the two grew stronger, as they worked to not only stop a terrorist plot but also avert war between China and the US. Sadly, Heller’s fears about Jack became a reality when his daughter Audrey was killed by Cheng’s men.
1 David Palmer
Even though he wasn’t in office for long, David Palmer was the show’s most popular president thanks to him literally serving as a sidekick to Jack Bauer. Palmer was also more involved in the storylines of the seasons he appeared in, compared to other presidents.
In the world of 24, he was the first African-American president and served a single term from Day 2 to Day 3. As president, he was able to solve a nuclear crisis, as well as help in containing a biological virus. After retiring, he was briefly brought back as a Special Advisor to Logan who was struggling with making decisions. Palmer survived one assassination attempt before succumbing to the next.
NEXT: 10 Unanswered Questions We Still Have About 24
The Big Bang Theory: 9 Things From The Pilot That Would Not Fly Today
About The Author