And then there was the time that the President of the United States needed some pants…
As we know thanks to Richard Nixon and his infamous tapes, U.S. presidents have a strange fetish of recording their telephone calls and goings on in the Oval Office. Presumably this is for the sake of posterity, allowing future historians insights into momentous events like the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Iran Contra Scandal, or Clinton’s impeachment. Nixon notoriously claimed during his post-impeachment interviews with David Frost that “if the President does it, that means it’s not illegal”. Similar logic does not prevail with respect to recordings, however. “If the President records it, that means it’s historic” is definitely not the case. Exhibit A comes from Lyndon Baines Johnson, who one day decided that he needed some new pants, so he dialled up Joe Haggar and pressed record.
You can listen to it here. Highlights being that Johnson asks for extra room for where his “nuts hang down” near his “bung hole” and actually belches in mid sentence without missing a beat. He also makes clear that he needs deeper pockets, because his knife keeps falling out. It’s pretty entertaining. Supposedly he would also wiggle his member, which he dubbed “Jumbo” at people in the washroom and ask them if they’d every seen anything so big. Quite a guy!
Bonus stuff! Here’s an LBJ poster
And how did Johnson make it into the White House? Thanks to an international CIA, Cuban, Soviet, FBI, mafia conspiracy to murder John Kennedy. This conspiracy involved approximately 5,000 people but nonetheless managed to stay hidden to this day. Johnson was sworn in just hours after the assassination on Air Force One, which also had Kennedy’s body aboard. There are famous photos of his swearing in, and interesting fact: the photographer had Jackie Kennedy turn so as to hide the stains of her husband’s blood.
LBJ was sworn in on this missal (a compendium of biblical things necessary for a catholic mass) which they found on the plane.
Upon landing in Washington LBJ gave this brief statement, which he later regretted, as he sounds weirdly detached and aloof. His speaking style sounds quite strange in light of the moment.
Oh and LBJ signed the Civil Rights Bill, escalated the Vietnam War, and lifted up Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson by his shirt collar and told him “you’re pissing on my rug!” after Pearson criticized the Vietnam War. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.