Jackie Kennedy Tapes: Martin Luther King Was 'Terrible'
Jackie Kennedy criticised a host of world leaders including Martin Luther King, Charles de Gaulle and Indira Gandhi, the US broadcaster ABC has revealed, as it aired a never-before-heard interview with the former first lady.
In an intimate interview with notable historian and Kennedy aide Arthur Schlesinger, Kennedy opines on a number of her contemporaries as well as her love for her husband, John F Kennedy.
Despite being recorded just four months after he was shot in Dallas in 1963, Mrs Kennedy does not discuss the assassination.
One of the more damning verdicts falls on legendary black civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King, who she calls a “phoney” and a “terrible man”. Her view was formed after secret FBI wiretaps suggested he was trying to organise a sex party. She also claimed that he had boasted of being drunk at her husbands funeral.
“He made fun of Cardinal Cushing and said that he was drunk at it [the funeral] – and things about how they almost dropped the coffin. I mean Martin Luther King is really a tricky person,” she said.
“He said this with no bitterness or anything, how he was calling up all these girls and arranging for a party of men and women, I mean, sort of an orgy.”
According to her daughter, Caroline Kennedy, Jackie’s opinion had been manipulated by the then FBI director J Edgar Hoover.
Mrs Kennedy attended Martin Luther King’s funeral four years later, following his assassination.
Of the former French president, she says: "De Gaulle was my hero when I married Jack, [her nickname for JFK]".
But after she met him in 1961, she described him as "spiteful" and an "egomaniac."
"I loathe the French ... They are not very nice, they are all for themselves,” she says, despite speaking fluent French and having studied at the Sorbonne, aged 20.
Calling Winston Churchill "ga-ga", she said her husband was disappointed when he met the British wartime prime minister in the 1950s.
"Jack had always wanted to meet Churchill. Well, the poor man [Churchill] was really quite ga-ga then," she said.
"I felt so sorry for Jack that evening because he was meeting his hero, only he met him too late."
Indira Gandhi, the former Indian prime minister, is described as a "bitter, kind of pushy, horrible woman". She also criticised Lyndon Johnson, who was her husband’s presidential running mate in 1960. Mrs Kennedy said that JFK would say to her: “Oh, God, can you ever imagine what would happen to the country if Lyndon were president?"
Her tender side was also revealed recalling moments with her husband during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. The first lady resisted being sent away, saying:
"If anything happens, we're all going to stay right here with you ... Even if there's not room in the bomb shelter in the White House. I just want to be with you, and I want to die with you, and the children do too."
Eerily, she said she recalls JFK joking about his own assassination:
"And then I remember Jack saying after the Cuban missile crisis, when it all turned [out] so fantastically, he said: 'Well, if anyone's ever going to shoot me, this would be the day they should do it.'"