As President Eisenhower watched the inaugural reviewing stand be built he joked, “I feel like the fellow in jail who’s watching his scaffold being built.”
That reference might not make sense for many today unless they are a fan of westerns, but I wonder if Ike ever witnessed an actual hanging and how relevant his quote was to him. In case you were wondering, he was born in 1890.
Robert McNamara was the first president of Ford Motor Company from outside the Ford family. Less than five weeks after becoming president of Ford, he was approached to join the Kennedy administration either as the Treasury or Defense Secretary. As you historians know, he became the Secretary of Defense. It’s not apples to apples, and times and circumstance aren’t the same, but I don’t think that’s all that different than Trump tapping Exxon chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson for the Secretary of State job.
If I were alive when Kennedy was selecting his administration, I’d raise an eyebrow about him hiring a car guy to lead the military and his very young brother as Attorney General. And not to sound too much of a Trump apologist (y’all know I lean left of center), but I don’t have any issue with his daughter and son-in-law serving in his administration in advisory roles. It’s one thing for me to not agree with their politics and another in how they serve.
Eisenhower asked the president-elect one favor, to be restored as a 5-star rank general as it will make him more than just an ex-president.
Ike and JFK met quite a bit in that time span between the end of the election and inauguration, at least compared to modern times. I’m not sure how often LBJ and Nixon met, but I think all the others only met once during that time. Well, except Reagan and Bush, of course.
Former President Hoover never made it to Kennedy’s inauguration due to the icy weather and his plane was rerouted. Yes, he was alive back then and even outlived JFK, he died in October of 1964.
Back in the day, Secret Service protection wasn’t extended to former presidents for very long. This is how it happened for Ike: