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John F Kennedy Sex Scandal

The largely male Washington press corps looked the other way then and likewise kept Kennedy insulated from sexual scandal during his presidency. Not until 1975, when the name of his mistress Judith Campbell popped up during a congressional hearing, did most Americans realize Kennedy had been unfaithful to his wife. Still, when Campbell wrote her well-documented 1977 memoir about the multi-year affair, Kennedy loyalists did their best to discredit and degrade her.

john f kennedy sex scandal

At the time JFK was to marry Jackie in three weeks but the pair stayed in touch, meeting another night two years later. Von Post claims that Kennedy rang his father telling him he wanted to divorce Jackie and be with her instead but that he was warned that such a scandal would ruin his political career.

This is sad and pathetic but it is not shaming. There's a bit more of the same and then it's over. The Marilyn Monroe we have always known -- beautiful, confused, smarter than you might think and lonely as only a star can be -- survives intact. But her modest walk-on role, we have been informed by weeks of highly public scandal, is very far from the full treatment Hersh originally had in mind. What Hersh had, or thought he had, or in any event persuaded ABC News for a time that he had, was a sheaf of incriminating documents -- including letters, contracts and memorandums signed by President Kennedy -- which proved, or purported to prove, or if true would have proved, that Marilyn Monroe changed her mind about embarrassing the President, threatened to deface the President's image as a family man with the sensational news of their sexual affair and was bribed to shut up only by the President's timely agreement to establish a substantial trust fund for the comfortable maintenance of her mother. There was lots more of the same, incriminating not only Monroe, in the documents allegedly left at his death by a New York lawyer who, according to his son, numbered among his private clients the President.

It's only too obvious that Kennedy's rambling remarks about J. Edgar Hoover, a scandal on Capitol Hill, who was paying how much for Rometsch, the Senate investigator who loved her, were all intended not for Bradlee's entertainment but to prepare Bradlee's newspaper, The Washington Post, for some very bad news heading the President's way. ''There is something incredible,'' Bradlee wrote 20 years ago, ''about the picture of the President of the United States and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation looking at photographs of call girls over lunch.'' It's not so incredible now. That lunch with Hoover was not an idle gossip session. Hoover knew about Kennedy's affair with Rometsch, and made sure the President knew he knew. Hersh has tied a great many separate strands together here to create a new, convincing and troubling tale of a man who has lost control of his appetites and is beginning to realize he is knee-deep in the tar-baby.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Mimi Alford was terrified in 1998 when the Monica Lewinsky scandal turned the word "intern" into a dirty joke, exposing an affair with a president. Her decades-old secret about her trysts with John F. Kennedy was still safe then.

Today's era has seen record-breaking scandals: Donald Trump is the only president to be impeached twice and to be impeached after leaving office. Although he was charged while still in office, the trial didn't begin until after Biden had replaced him.

Stacker compiled a collection of 10 images showcasing presidential scandals through the decades. Whether as far back as 1865 or as recent as 2021, the commander in chief's tendency for dubious ethics remains an American tradition.

JFK's affairs were particularly scandalous because Kennedy was the first Catholic president to take office. Alongside his wife Jacqueline, an illustrious First Lady who also became a fashion icon at the time, his strong home life gave the impression of a seemingly upright American family in the White House.

During the infamous Watergate scandal, burglars linked to Richard Nixon's campaign for reelection were caught attempting to wiretap and steal documents from the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate building in Washington D.C.

Having an affair with a 22-year-old intern was only the start of the scandal for Bill Clinton, who had already been rumored to have had several extramarital affairs by the time the Lewinsky scandal broke in 1998.

Nor does the scandal end there. One of Kennedy's girlfriends, Judith Exner, was used to pass classified CIA plans for the assassination of Fidel Castro to Chicago mafia boss Sam Giancana, while another shared a joint of marijuana with the president, having been promised that cocaine was readily available if she preferred.

Sex scandals seem to crop up regularly in politics with elected officials making headlines for trysts or sexual misconduct. Here is a glimpse at some of the sex-related scandals involving political figures and agencies.

In April 2012, several Secret Service agents and personnel were accused of bringing prostitutes to their hotel room during the sixth Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Columbia. Nine agency employees either resigned or retired as a result of the scandal and the incident prompted the law enforcement agency to implement new rules for its staff.

ROBERTS: The first to be accused of extramarital relations was Thomas Jefferson when a newspaper published the accusation that he was having sex with the enslaved woman Sally Hemings. It took until the 20th century for that to be substantiated with DNA test, and it was a big scandal at the time. But newspapers, Rachel, would make stuff up all the time in this era. And when John Adams was running for re-election in 1800 with Charles Pinckney as his running mate, the Republican press said that Pinckney had brought home from England four women, two for him and two for Adams. And Adams said if it were true, he was cheated out of his two.

ROBERTS: Well, there was no official handling of sex scandals until Bill Clinton's impeachment, and that was due to his lying under oath, not the sex itself. There always have been disputes about what the press knew and when it knew it in various administrations, particularly with John F. Kennedy, where some members of the press certainly knew what he was up to, and nobody wrote about it. But, you know, Rachel, it's important to remember the press was a boys club. And it really wasn't until there were many more women on the bus that the way candidates and presidents treat women was considered important. The first victim, so to speak, of that new attitude was Gary Hart.

MARTIN: Gary Hart, former presidential candidate whose campaign was famously derailed by a sex scandal. Commentator Cokie Roberts. You can ask Cokie your questions about how politics and government work by emailing us at, or you can tweet us your question with the hashtag #AskCokie. Cokie, thanks so much.

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