Before Donald Trump made his false claim that Ted Cruz’s father once associated with accused presidential assassin Lee Oswald, six previous U.S. presidents had offered opinions about who killed JFK.
What U.S. Presidents Thought
The assassination of JFK prompted former president Harry Truman to call for the abolition of the CIA in December 1963.
While President Lyndon Johnson publicly endorsed the official theory that a “lone gunman” had killed his predecessor, privately LBJ “never believed” it. He suspected JFK’s foreign enemies.
In the early 1970s President Richard Nixon obsessed about “the Bay of Pigs thing,” which aides thought was a coded reference to JFK’s assassination In a tense 1971 meeting, Nixon told CIA director Richard Helms he didn’t care “Who shot John.” (Listen to the tape of Nixon here.)
President Gerald Ford, as a member of the Warren Commission, edited the description of JFK’s back wound in the commission’s final report to bolster the so-called “single bullet theory,” more than the evidence warranted.
President George H.W. Bush publicly endorsed the lone gunman theory. Privately, he figured in the JFK story.
While serving as CIA director in 1976, Bush received a letter from an old friend George de Mohrenschildt, a Texas geologist who did favors for the Agency. De Mohrenschildt, who had participated in the Agency’s monitoring of Lee Oswald before JFK was killed, was under pressure from congressional investigators. He wanted to know what he should say. Bush ignored his letter.
Bill Clinton, while campaigning for president in the summer of 1992, said he believed JFK was killed by a conspiracy. When he moved into the White House, he changed his mind.