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[VIDEO] Nov. 22, 1963 | Speaker McCormack Statement on JFK Assassination

Nov. 22, 1963 - Disbelief, shock, tears, and finally outrage were Congress’ reactions today to the assassination of President Kennedy. Some legislators pounded their fists against the nearest wall. Others wandered aimlessly, stunned, through the halls of Congress. “This is terrible,” Senate Democratic Leader Mike Mansfield (Mont.) whispered after being told. He stammered, “I — I can’t find the words.” “Oh God, Oh God! This is the most distressing thing that could ever happen,” Senate GOP Leader Everett Dirksen (Ill.) declared. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii), recalling the assassination of Lincoln a little less than 100 years ago, raged: “This black Friday will be long remembered by the people of our nation.” “This is a tragic event,” House Speaker John McCormack (Mass.), a lifelong friend of the President, said in disbelief, tears streaming down his lined face. “I feel very inadequate in expressing my thoughts,” he said. “The nation has sustained a staggering loss, the significance of which is stupendous. Our country and the entire world will never forget President Kennedy. His leadership was superb in meeting the challenges of the world.” He wandered away, still crying. Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.), who had been a possible Kennedy opponent in the 1964 Presidential race, called the assassination “shocking and dreadful.” “The President’s death is a profound loss to the nation and the free world,” Goldwater said in a statement. “He and I were personal friends. It is also a great loss to me. Mrs. Goldwater and I offer our heartfelt sympathies to Mrs. Kennedy and the President’s family.” And Congressman Joe D. Waggoner Jr. (D-La.) declared: “I don’t know what this country is coming to. We’re a damned banana republic.”


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