Almost 50 years ago, following the assassination of her husband, president John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy recorded over six hours of interviews with Arthur M. Schlesinger and revealed some shocking and at times alarming aspects to the presidency and her relationship with her husband that were otherwise kept quiet.
It was one of only three interviews she did about her time in the White House, and she never spoke about it publicly in the years that followed.
In an exclusive, two hour special with Diane Sawyer which airs tomorrow on ABC, Jackie Kennedy discloses, among other things, that her husband “feared” Lyndon B. Johnson’s potential presidency; this was clandestine until now and contrasts the public image the president displayed.
She even goes so far as to say that JFK did not particularly want LBJ on the ballot at all in 1968, that he only did so to get him out of his position as Senate Majority Leader.
Daughter, Caroline Kennedy, who reportedly agreed to release the tapes early in exchange for Disney pulling the a Kennedy mini-series, remarks that these recordings occurred at a “complicated” time in her mother’s relationship with Johnson, and that she was “in the extreme stages of grief,” when she recorded the tapes. She also notes that despite how it may seem, she was actually quite fond of both Johnson and his wife.
Perhaps the most shocking revelation to come out of the tapes is Jackie dubbing Martin Luther King a “phony” who was caught on eavesdropping tapes arranging rendezvous with various women. This despite her own husbands notorious reputation for extramarital affairs.
The tapes also reveal a more personal side of the First Lady, a loving relationship between her and her husband and her high regard of his presidency.
In the tapes, we will see that she pleaded with her husband not to go to Camp David during the Cuban Missile Crisis. If the U.S. became engaged in nuclear warfare, she says that she and her children wanted to remain with her husband.
Here is a preview of the special from ABC:
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