Former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy held a low opinion of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., calling him “phony” and “tricky” and alleging that King mocked the funeral of her slain husband, President John F. Kennedy.
The remarks came in a series of interviews the first lady gave in the 1960s which will be part of a new book and set of audio CDs to be released in mid-September.
According to ABC News, which obtained tapes of the interviews, Kennedy said she was disgusted by FBI wire taps which allegedly detailed King’s attempts to set up a hotel orgy while in Washington for his historic August 1963 march and, at another point, his affair with another woman in a hotel.
Kennedy claimed King also cracked jokes about the funeral of her assassinated husband, and its officiate, Cardinal Richard Cushing.
“He made fun of Cardinal Cushing and said he was drunk at it,” Kennedy recounted, according to The New York Daily News. “And things about they almost dropped the coffin. I just can’t see a picture of Martin Luther King without thinking, you know, ‘That man’s terrible.’”
However, Kennedy’s opinion later changed, as she became friendly enough with King and his family to attend his own 1968 funeral.
“If you asked her what she thought of Martin Luther King overall… she admired him tremendously,” Caroline Kennedy, the first lady’s daughter, told ABC.
“Obviously, J. Edgar Hoover had passed on something that Martin Luther King said about my father’s funeral, to Uncle Bobby and to Mommy. And obviously, she was upset about that,” Caroline Kennedy added. “It shows you the poisonous … activities of J. Edgar Hoover.”