Letters sign public distaste for booze in JFK White Dwelling

BOSTON (AP) — It change into a tempest in a teapot — or, extra precisely, a whiskey tumbler.

Presidential transitions are repeatedly now no longer less than a minute bit tricky. Residing proof: Researchers on the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum hang learned a cache of letters from Americans objecting to JFK’s include of cocktails at White Dwelling occasions.

The letters shed recent perception into President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s handoff to Kennedy early in 1961, and the strikingly various attitudes that individuals held about alcohol at official functions.

“Liquor dulls the mind and loosens the tongue,” one disappointed citizen, Kenneth P. Kennedy of Sparta, Illinois — no relation to JFK — wrote to the nation’s newly minted 35th president. “Will we chance our national and global security on such capacity incompetence?”

Eisenhower change into no teetotaler, but historians mutter he presided over a largely cocktail-free White Dwelling. Enter Kennedy, who had already raised some eyebrows because the first Roman Catholic to be elected president.

JFK Library archivists mutter the letters of affirm started arriving after newspapers reported on Kennedy’s first official event: a January 1961 reception honoring the recent president’s appointees.

“For the first time, there change into a bar within the Boom Dining Room, with waiters to fireplace up martinis or pour vodka, Scotch, bourbon, or champagne,” The Washington Put up reported.

What adopted change into a form of low-key Liquorgate. Letters — some typed, others handwritten — expressed shock and dread that the U.S. would lose its dignity and standing within the area.

“Pricey Mr. President, I mediate many feel humiliation and disgrace over our nation this day once we be taught of our White Dwelling became unpleasant drunken all-night carousal and dancing,” reads one from Edith Fritz, of Idaho. “Dignity beforehand engendered — gone. Also can God hang pity upon your heart-broken soul.”

“Our nation change into primarily based by men of Christian beliefs. Let’s abet it that way,” reads any other from Ruby Turner, of Dunkerton, Iowa.

On the time, scholars mutter, the Kennedy administration played down the final public’s reaction to the swap, noting it bought a long way extra letters about civil rights unrest and the Cuban missile disaster.

In a JFK Library weblog post Wednesday, archivists Dana Bronson and Stacey Chandler illustrious that transitions from one president to any other are intently watched for shifts in each and every trend and substance.

And presidents hang held extensive-ranging attitudes toward alcohol. George Washington, the nation’s first, is presupposed to hang loved whiskey; President Donald Trump, its 45th, doesn’t drink in any appreciate, though he has had wine served at inform dinners and various functions.

Joe Biden, Trump’s Democratic opponent in November, doesn’t drink, either. Love Trump, the ragged vice president has pointed to alcoholism in his family in explaining why he abstains.


Apply AP New England editor Invoice Kole on Twitter at http://twitter.com/billkole.

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