JFK Press on Valentine’s Day

Courtesy of the JFK Library

President John F. Kennedy poses for photographs with Senators at a Congressional Coffee Hour in the Blue Room, White House, Washington, D.C. (L-R) Senator John Marshall Butler of Maryland; Senator Norris Cotton of New Hampshire; President Kennedy; Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina; Senator A. Willis Robertson of Virginia.

In research for the last blog post regarding Strom Thurmond, Arch Roberts and General Walker , I came across this on JFK speaking with the press on Valentine’s Day 1961:

QUESTION: “Mr. President, this being Valentine’s Day, sir, do you think it might be a good idea if you would call Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina down to the White House for a heart-to-heart talk about–(laughter)–the whole disagreement over the censorship of the military speeches and what he calls your defeatist foreign policy?”

THE PRESIDENT: “Well, I think that that meeting should be probably prepared at a lower level, and then we could have a –(more laughter).”*

Thurmond has been labeled the “Father of Conservatism” though his idea of conservatism is not one most modern conservatives would condone.  Thurmond was a segregationist who fathered a mixed-race daughter by his black maid.  I suppose in his conservative mind, it was okay to have sex with blacks and bring forth children, but not allow them to drink, eat or ride on public transportation with whites.  It is this hypocrisy, rampant on all sides of the political spectrum that we must find a way to end.  It seems in the statements made by JFK to the Press, he felt the same way.

Here’s a letter from Thurmond to JFK just to show who this man was:  This man who began as a Dixiecrat (Independent) became a Democrat,  then switched to become a Republican was a true politician if ever there was one, and in support of General Walker and segregation.


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