Presidential Assassinations

53 Years Since The John F. Kennedy Assassination: Still Not Recovered From The Reverberations Of That Event

53 years ago today, President John F. Kennedy, our youngest elected President, with all of his youth, good looks, and charisma, was suddenly shot down at age 46, shocking the world, and we are still not fully recovered from the reverberations of that event in 2016.

America lost whatever innocence it had that day, and it ushered in a whole group of assassinations and attempts over the next decade and more.

Fortunately, no President has been assassinated since then, but Ronald Reagan was severely wounded in 1981, and the problem of protection of the President and the First Family remains a constant security nightmare.

Whatever our political beliefs, we can wish good health and safety for President Elect Donald Trump and his entire family, but also realize the anger, fury, and divisiveness that has continued to escalate with recent Presidents, reaching an all time high of threats against President Barack Obama, are not likely to lessen with a new and controversial President, who speaks his mind openly more than anyone in recent memory, at least since Richard Nixon.

So the challenge to try to make the Kennedy Assassination the very last ever to occur continues to face us in the future.

I wish to remind my readers that my Assassinations book is coming out in paperback in March 2017 at the very reasonable price of $17.95 from the publisher, Rowman Littlefield, and that the Kennedy Assassination is covered in detail in Chapter 9, and the Reagan Assassination attempt is covered in Chapter 14. The threats faced by Obama are covered in Chapter 16.

It is well worth your reading.

The Growing Threat Of Donald Trump Against The Life Of His Opponent, Hillary Clinton: NOT A Laughing Matter!

Donald Trump has done it again–a threat against the life of his Democratic Presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton.

On August 8, Trump spoke of “Second Amendment” remedies, that those who oppose the limiting of gun rights in any fashion, and see Hillary as a threat to those rights, might have a solution to the threat, implying action against Clinton.

He was roundly condemned for this assertion, and Michael Hayden, the former head of the CIA and NSA, said if anyone outside the hall where the speech was given had said such a thing, he would be in a police wagon being questioned, and facing prosecution.

And Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, referring to the Newtown Massacre that killed 24 young children and six teachers in December 2012, said Trump was reckless and would have blood on his hands if such an event occurred.

But Trump went ahead and said on September 16 that Clinton should agree to have her Secret Service team lay down their arms and “see what happens”, so he has not learned from the earlier incident.

Trump should be told now that his freedom of speech does NOT include such reckless language that could endanger his opponent, and that if something untoward were to happen, that he could face prosecution for having presented “a clear and present danger”, under Supreme Court case Schenck V US (1919), which limits freedom of speech.

And this is all happening in the month when there were eight incidents involving President and assassination threats, and also the assassination of Huey Long in 1935, all covered in the chapters of my Assassinations book, which will be in paperback by March 2017.

Five Articles Published On History News Network Now Available On Right Side Of Blog, Along With Two Articles On TheHill.com.

This blogger wanted to draw attention to five articles he has published in the past five weeks on History News Network (hnn.us), relating to my book on Presidential Assassinations, and also on recent political events.

They are posted on the right hand side of the blog under Articles and Op-Eds, along with two article on thehill.com website.

More articles are coming from History News Network soon, as at least three articles have been accepted.

So I suggest my readers look at these articles and future ones, all listed on this blog, along with radio interviews and C Span, with one more C Span to come next weekend, which I will announce soon!

Three “Unknown” Potential Presidents In Two Assassination Incidents: Abraham Lincoln And William McKinley

As discussed in my new book, ASSASSINATIONS, THREATS, AND THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY: FROM ANDREW JACKSON TO BARACK OBAMA, in two of our tragic assassinations of American Presidents,  there are three, relatively unknown, potential Presidents who could have emerged.

Two of these individuals are relevant to the Abraham Lincoln Assassination–President Pro Tempore, Senator Lafayette Foster, of Connecticut; and Vice President Hannibal Hamlin.

IF Vice President Andrew Johnson had been killed when Lincoln was, on April 14, 1865, as he was supposed to be under the John Wilkes Booth plot against the US Government, the next in line under the Presidential Succession Act of 1792 would have been Lafayette Foster, an obscure member of the Senate.

IF Lincoln had not replaced first time Vice President Hannibal Hamlin with Andrew Johnson, Hamlin would have become President, instead of Johnson.

Also, when William McKinley was assassinated in 1901, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt, only six months in office, succeeded him, but IF first term Vice President Garret Hobart had not died in office of heart disease in 1899, it is likely he would have been Vice President in the second term, and would, therefore, have become President.  We might not even know who Theodore Roosevelt was, as simply a New York Governor, but not of national significance, other than his role in the Spanish American War as a “Rough Rider” in Cuba.

So these three “unknown” potential Presidents–Lafayette Foster, Hannibal Hamlin, and Garret Hobart—remain in relative obscurity in history, and Andrew Johnson and Theodore Roosevelt became famous!

Paris Terror Attack Makes Clear Growing Threat To President And Presidential Candidates!

My new book on Presidential assassinations and threats has pointed out the constant and growing danger of assassination threats to our Presidents, including Barack Obama, and my recent op-ed in THE HILL on October 22 drew attention to the growing threat to Presidential candidates, with Donald Trump and Dr. Benjamin Carson now, after much delay, receiving Secret Service protection.  Hillary Clinton, as former First Lady, automatically receives such protection.

As I have pointed out, all Presidential candidates deserve at least some protection, with those doing better in attracting crowds and gaining in public opinion polls having more protection, which would now include Bernie Sanders, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Jeb Bush at the least.

The idea that the French President, Francois Hollande, was in danger at the soccer stadium at the time of the Paris terror attack last night, and had to be whisked out is alarming, and all Western European leaders, as well as those from Canada, Australia and the US are going to need  heightened protection in this age of terrorism gone overseas from the Middle East to the rest of the civilized world.

The western world is faced with a crisis that Pope Francis has called World War III, but without organized governments engaged in the terrorism, presenting a massive challenge as these terrorists are willing to commit suicide to achieve their goals, unlike the former Soviet Union, which was a constant threat during the Cold War, but also had leadership that wished to win, rather than sacrifice their lives.

So as a result, it was possible over time to overcome the Soviet threat, but in this age of terrorism, it is hard to see a resolution of this crisis no matter what the strategy is that is adopted.

We live in the most crucial time since World War II, and we need statesmanship and courage to meet the challenge!

New Presidential Record Of Survival In Office, Surpassing 1789-1841!

For the first nearly 52 years of the Republic, every President survived his term of office, from George Washington until William Henry Harrison.

Once Harrison died in office, we had a President die in every generation, with seven of the eight dying, having been elected in a zero election year–Harrison 1841, Abraham Lincoln 1865, James A. Garfield 1881, William McKinley 1901, Warren G. Harding 1923, Franklin D. Roosevelt 1945, and John F. Kennedy 1963, and joined by Zachary Taylor, dying in 1850, a zero year after being elected in 1848.

This became known as the “Zero Election Year Syndrome.”  It occurred seven straight zero election years from 1840 to 1960.  It was finally overcome when Ronald Reagan survived an assassination attempt in 1981, and when George W. Bush avoided tragedy on September 11 and throughout his Presidency, despite some serious threats.

Since JFK died, we have not had a Presidential death since, almost 52 years, although Richard Nixon did resign from office in 1974, even that being 41 years ago.

The question is how long can this new record of Presidential survival last, in a time of international terrorism and domestic turmoil.

There have been more death threats against Barack Obama than any President since Abraham Lincoln.

The last President to have a serious threat was Ronald Reagan, shot and seriously wounded in 1981, 34 years ago.

But every living President has had death threats, before, during, and after being in office.

A discussion of all these assassinations and threats are covered in my new book, ASSASSINATIONS, THREATS, AND THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY: FROM ANDREW JACKSON TO BARACK OBAMA (Rowman Littlefield), out since August 15, and available at the R & L website with a 30 percent discount offer, or at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Books A Million websites.

This author has done more than 25 radio interviews, and will be interviewed by C Span Q & A Brian Lamb next week, and the hour long interview will be available to be seen on C Span One a few weeks later at 8 pm, 11 pm on a Sunday night and 6 am the next Monday morning Eastern time, and will become part of the permanent interviews of Brian Lamb at C Span.org, available for interviewing anytime!

“Assassinations, Threats, And The American Presidency: From Andrew Jackson To Barack Obama” Available For Pre Order On Amazon!

I am very proud to announce that my forthcoming book, entitled “Assassinations, Threats, And The American Presidency: From Andrew Jackson To Barack Obama”, being published by Rowman & Littlefield in mid April 2015, is now listed on Amazon, and is available for preorder.

This book will cover all known threats against 16 Presidents, including the five living Presidents; the assassination of two and the wounding of a third Presidential candidate; and a discussion of fifteen men who might have become President, had assassins been more successful than they were.

The book also has art prints and photographs of the most significant assassination threats, some successful, and others not; and also has a set of charts to clarify the whole issue of the assassination threats throughout Presidential history over the past 180 years.

On The Brink Of A Record Not Attained Since 1825–Three Presidents With Eight Years In Office!

We are on the brink of accomplishing a record in the Presidency which has not occurred since the early days of the Republic–three Presidents in a row finishing eight years in office over 24 years!

The one and only time this happened was the administrations of Democratic Republicans Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809), James Madison (1809-1817), and James Monroe (1817-1825).

With all of the controversies, divisions, emotions involved in the past two plus decades, IF Barack Obama can avoid any assassination threats in the next two and a half years, God willing, he will have done what Bill Clinton (1993-2001) and George W. Bush (2001-2009) did before him, finish two complete terms of office!

We have not even had two Presidents in a row finish two terms of office otherwise, an amazing record, demonstrating the trials and tribulations of the Presidency!

The only other Presidents to finish two consecutive terms of office include: Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan. Of course, FDR was also elected to a third and fourth term in office.

George Washington started his first term 57 days late, so did not complete a full eight years in office, and Grover Cleveland’s two terms were non-consecutive.

Abraham Lincoln and William McKinley were elected President twice, but both were assassinated early in the second term.

Theodore Roosevelt and Harry Truman inherited most of a term, but were only elected President once.

Richard Nixon was elected twice, but resigned early in his second term due to the Watergate Scandal.

So this is a record, three straight Presidencies over 24 years completed, worthy of note!

Analyzing the “40s” Presidents As Barack Obama Celebrates His 52nd Birthday!

President Barack Obama celebrates his 52nd Birthday today, and all good wishes to our Commander in Chief!

Since this is his birthday, it brings to mind the fact that Obama is one of only nine Presidents to be inaugurated in his 40s, with Obama being the fifth youngest to be sworn in. The list of “40s” Presidents is as follows:

Theodore Roosevelt 42 years 322 days
John F. Kennedy 43 years 236 days
Bill Clinton 46 years 154 days
Ulysses S. Grant 46 years 311 days
Barack Obama 47 years 169 days
Grover Cleveland 47 years 351 days
Franklin Pierce 48 years 101 days
James A. Garfield 49 years 105 days
James K. Polk 49 years 122 days

Six of these nine Presidents were Democrats, all but Theodore Roosevelt, Ulysses S. Grant, and James A. Garfield, who were Republicans.

All but Theodore Roosevelt became President by election, with TR succeeding William McKinley upon his assassination, so while TR is the youngest President, John F. Kennedy is the youngest elected President, although TR went on to be elected to a full term!

Five of these nine Presidents would be ranked in the top 15 of our Presidents, in the view of most scholars and experts—TR, JFK, Clinton, Obama, and Polk.

Cleveland would make a list of the top half of our Presidents, with Grant and Pierce rated much lower on their performance in the White House, and Garfield hard to rate, since he had such a brief term as President, a true loss to the nation that he died so early in his administration!

Tragedy was a factor in many of these “40s” Presidents, including:

Assassination of Garfield and Kennedy
Alcoholism of Pierce and Grant
Short retirement of Polk–103 days
Short life span of Kennedy, Garfield, Polk, TR, Grant, Pierce
Scandals under Grant and Clinton

So becoming President in one’s 40s is a mixed blessing, and one can simply ask Bill Clinton and Barack Obama how they feel about the torment and vicious attacks they have both faced, but how they have managed to overcome their critics and have outstanding records overall in the Oval Office!

178th Anniversary Of Andrew Jackson Assassination Attempt Reminds Us Of Constant Threats Against Life Of Barack Obama

On this day in 1835, America witnessed the first assassination attempt against a President, as Andrew Jackson subdued his own assassin, Richard Lawrence, who fired two weapons, both of which misfired, the odds of such an event being estimated at one in 125,000 attempts!

Sadly, we have witnessed four Presidents assassinated in office—Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy. We have seen two Presidents wounded in assassination attempts—Theodore Roosevelt out of office and Ronald Reagan. We have also seen Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Gerald Ford shot at, with the assassins missing their mark. And we have had direct threats against Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush, and other, more indirect threats, against other Presidents.

But Barack Obama has had the greatest number of threats of all, averaging 30 per day, according to an an article in the Huffington Post!

So on this anniversary of the first assassination attempt, a prayer for the safety of our President is in order!