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Subject: You may be correct. Sad, Jenkins and his wife Helen had six children -4 boys, and 2 girls. They separated in the early 1970s after 30+ years, but never divorced. Helen Jenkins died in 1987.

Walter Jenkins died in 1985, at the age of 67, a few months after suffering a stroke.
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Date Posted: Sunday, June 16, 12:20:16pm
In reply to: It was quite a scandal at the time 's message, "All I can think of is Walter Jenkins, the aide to LBJ who was arrested in a bathroom in 1964" on Sunday, June 16, 12:07:12pm

Walter Wilson Jenkins
(March 23, 1918 – November 23, 1985)

American political figure and longtime top aide to U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson. Jenkins' career ended after was he was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct with another man in a public restroom in Washington, D.C. It happened weeks before the 1964 presidential election, in an era when homosexual behavior was widely condemned.

Scandal and resignation ...
A month before the 1964 presidential election, on October 7, District of Columbia Police arrested Jenkins in a YMCA restroom. He and another man were booked on a disorderly conduct charge, an incident described as "perhaps the most famous tearoom arrest in America." He paid a $50 fine. Rumors of the incident circulated for several days and Republican Party operatives helped to promote it to the press. Some newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and the Cincinnati Enquirer, refused to run the story. Journalists quickly learned that Jenkins had been arrested on a similar charge in 1959, which made it much harder to explain away as the result of overwork or, as one journalist wrote, "combat fatigue."

"Perhaps the most amazing of all events of the campaign of 1964
is that the nation faced the fact fully—and shrugged its shoulders."

—Theodore H. White in The Making of the President 1964

Finally, on October 14, a Washington Star editor called the White House for Jenkins' comment on a story it was preparing. Jenkins turned to White House lawyers Abe Fortas, the President's personal lawyer, and Clark Clifford, who unofficially was filling the role of White House Counsel. They immediately lobbied the editors of Washington's three newspapers not to run the story, which only confirmed its significance. Within hours Clifford detailed the evidence to the President and press secretary George Reedy, who "openly weeping," confirmed the story to reporters. Probably forewarned, Johnson told Fortas that Jenkins needed to resign.

Anticipating the charge that Jenkins might have been blackmailed, Johnson immediately ordered an FBI investigation. He knew that J. Edgar Hoover would have to clear the administration of any security problem because the FBI itself would otherwise be at fault for failing to investigate Jenkins properly years before. Hoover reported on October 22 that security had not been compromised.

Johnson later said: "I couldn't have been more shocked about Walter Jenkins if I'd heard that Lady Bird had tried to kill the Pope." He also fed conspiracy theories that Jenkins had been framed. He claimed that before his arrest Jenkins had attended a cocktail party where the waiters came from the Republican National Committee, though the party was hosted by Newsweek to celebrate the opening of its new offices. The Star printed the story and UPI transmitted its version on October 14. Jenkins resigned the same day. Johnson immediately ordered a poll to determine the public's reaction to the affair and learned the next day that its effect on the voters was negligible.

The President announced that only he would contact the press about the incident, but his wife, Lady Bird Johnson, issued her own statement of support for Jenkins.

Learn MORE on Jenkins scandal …

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Subject Author Date
Jenkins had also been arrested in January 1959 on a similar charge (NT)LBJ ignored or overlooked that oneThursday, June 27, 05:30:06pm

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