The latest memoir by a former lover makes me think twice about John F.Kennedy.
Mimi Alford’s account of her sexual dalliance with President Kennedy when she was a White House intern cannot be refuted by the late president but I have to say it rings true.
She was just 19-years-old when Kennedy, then 45, took her aside and to his wife’s bedroom where he ended her virginity.
There was worse to come. Perhaps the most damning part of the book is when Kennedy gets the very young woman to ‘service’ his White House aide Dave Powers while Kennedy looks on.
It is pretty disgusting stuff and while we all knew Kennedy was a roué, the direct evidence like this makes it a lot less appealing than the glamorous Marilyn Monroe alleged affair.
Kennedy it appears was a lech if Mimi Allford is to be believed and he practiced his lechery right under the nose of his beautiful wife Jackie.
That does not necessarily reflect on him as a president; as the frequency of sexual liaisons among presidents is pretty extensive to say the least, both Republican and Democrat.
But it does say a lot about him as a man, even allowing for the fact that it was a different era.
The sordid events that Allford relates certainly take the sheen off the Kennedy presidency, so magnificently polished by generations of pro-Kennedy writers.
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I am disappointed but perhaps should not be by the overwhelming evidence about Kennedy’s crass acts while in office.
Mimi Allford seems a credible witness, she never put herself forward but was tracked down and now she is giving her long ago affair with the president a public voice.
Not all our heroes have feet of clay but many do unfortunately. It is the human condition and certainly men in powerful positions have long abused that position for sex and favors.
But Kennedy somehow, in my mind seemed above that – living in a Camelot where bravery and brilliance abounded.
Instead we have a sordid scenario indeed. It will be interesting to see what impact it has on his legacy but it certainly has shaken my personal belief in the man so many of my generation worshipped.