KC Johnson

LBJ & J. Edgar Hoover, 30 Oct. 1964

Just before Election Day, rumors circulated of another bombshell—the GOP would reveal a member of the cabinet was a closeted homosexual. In this clip, laced with double entendre, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover assured LBJ that the rumors were groundless.

President Johnson: No, I read that. What they said was that—they raised the question of the way he [an unidentified cabinet aide] combed his hair, or the way he did something else, but they had no act of his, or he had done nothing—

J. Edgar Hoover: No. It was just the suspicion that his mannerisms and so forth were such that they were suspicious.

President Johnson: Yeah. He [Jenkins] worked for me for four or five years, but he wasn’t even suspicious to me.

But I guess you’re going to have to teach me something about this stuff!

Hoover: Well, you know, I often wonder what the next crisis is going to be. [An awkward pause ensues.]

President Johnson: I’ll swear I can’t recognize them. I don’t know anything about it.

Hoover: It’s a thing that you just can’t tell. Sometimes, just like in the case of this poor fellow Jenkins . . .

President Johnson: Yes.

Hoover: [continuing] There was no indication in any way.

President Johnson: No.

Hoover: [continuing] And I knew him pretty well, and [FBI White House liaison Deke] DeLoach did also, and there was no suspicion, no indication.

There are some people who walk kind of funny and so forth, that you might kind of think are little bit off, or maybe queer. But there was no indication of that in Jenkins’ case.

President Johnson: That’s right.

[Break.]

Hoover: So far, I haven’t been able to get any more detail than was given to me yesterday, namely that this man [the alleged closeted homosexual] was a cabinet officer, and will be exposed today.

Now, I thought of all the cabinet officers that we have—and whom I don’t know personally—but there are none of them that raise any suspicion in my mind.

President Johnson: None in mine.

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