The Magazine

The President as Priapist

From the June 2, 2003 issue: Too much energy in the executive.

Jun 2, 2003, Vol. 8, No. 37 • By ARNOLD BEICHMAN
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I can add something from personal knowledge--as told to me by the late Arthur J. Goldberg, then secretary of labor. Kennedy's sex exploits often occurred in New York's Carlyle Hotel on Madison Ave. and East 76th Street, where he could enjoy the privacy not available at the White House. Kennedy stayed in the Carlyle's huge penthouse with a magnificent view of Central Park from its wall-sized picture window. The lady of choice would arrive--perhaps after a cocktail party hosted by Henry Fonda at an East Side brownstone. The entourage of White House correspondents who traveled with the president would be informed at a late afternoon briefing by Pierre Salinger that "the lid was on," and they were free to disport themselves as they pleased because there would be no breaking news or official announcements. The assignation would actually take place in rooms on the floor below the penthouse, where the chosen lady could arrive unseen by the Secret Service guards stationed outside the penthouse doors. Kennedy would then pop down a back staircase and return at his leisure to the presidential bedroom in the penthouse.

The full story of Kennedy the priapist will never be known, because those who know rarely talk, and those who talk do not know the whole story.

Arnold Beichman, a Hoover Institution research fellow, is a columnist for the Washington Times.