KC Johnson

LBJ & Speaker John McCormack, 6 Aug. 1964

The Tonkin Gulf Resolution effectively neutralized Vietnam as an issue in the campaign. But the day of the vote, the President expressed his displeasure with the two senators (Wayne Morse and Ernest Gruening) who voted no, along with Texas Republican congressman Ed Foreman, who criticized Johnson’s premature announcement of the retaliatory raids.

President Johnson: That was a good vote you had today.

Speaker McCormack: Yes, it was very good. 414 to nothing; one present. What’d the Senate do?

President Johnson: 88 to 2. Morse and Gruening.

McCormack: I don’t understand Gruening.

President Johnson: Oh, he’s no good. He’s worse than Morse. He’s just no good. I’ve spent millions on him up in Alaska [in reconstruction funds after the March 1964 Alaska earthquake]. He’s just no good.

And Morse is just as undependable and erratic as he can be.

McCormack: I know that. But I can’t understand the other fellow.

President Johnson: Say, I wanted to point out this little shitass [Ed] Foreman today got up and said that we [Johnson] acted impulsively by announcing that we had an answer on the way [to the Tonkin Gulf incidents] before the planes dropped their bombs.

[Break.]

President Johnson: It’s just a pure lie, and smokescreen.

McCormack: But he was booed two or three times. Tremendous booing on the Democratic side. He was—everybody knew he was just cheap and mean and contemptible. Well, you know what he is.

President Johnson: Yeah. Yeah, he’s no good.

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