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Mayor Wagner: “No Rift” with President

Sept. 20, 1963 - New York Mayor Robert Wagner (right) said today, after a 20-minute talk with President Kennedy, that “of course” there was no rift between himself and the President. The Mayor denied he had snubbed Mr. Kennedy by failing to meet him at Idlewild Airport yesterday and said the President had expressed “surprise” at speculation about a snub. Mr. Kennedy, the Mayor said, “couldn’t understand where a lot of these reports were coming from.” The President, he said, recalled that he had made five or six previous trips to New York and that Mr. Wagner had not always been able to meet him. Speaking to reporters outside the Carlyle Hotel, where he had called upon the President in his suite, Mr. Wagner said: “When I arrived here, we were friends. We departed as friends, and our relationship is just as warm as ever. I know of no rift. There may be a few little matters somewhere, but they are of no significance. This is a lot of fuss about nothing.” Since last spring, there have been reports of coolness between the two, based upon hints that the White House did not see eye to eye with Mr. Wagner about the conduct of Democratic party affairs in New York State. Some observers interpreted the Mayor’s absence from the airport, when Mr. Kennedy arrived yesterday to address the United Nations, as an intentional snub.

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