Move over, James Buchanan and Abe Lincoln: A new book by veteran Washington reporter Don Fulsom claims that America’s shiftiest president, Richard “Tricky Dick” Nixon, was much more than just a liar and a spyer. He was also a wife-beater, a drunk—and yes, a homosexual.
Due out next month, Fulsom’s racy bio, Nixon’s Darkest Secrets, asserts that Nixon carried on a decades-long affair with Mafia-connected Floridian Charles “Bebe” Rebozo, unquestionably one of the 37th U.S. President’s closest confidants. Rebozo often vacationed with Prez Dick in Key Biscayne, both with Nixon’s wife Pat along and not. During the men-only visits, the twosome reportedly frolicked together in and out of the water, and gushed over their shared passion for Broadway musicals.
But was there ever anything more than a strong bromance between the dark duo (seen above, flanking current gay media darling J. Edgar Hoover)? Nixon’s final chief of staff, Alexander Haig, reportedly joked about the pair being lovers and threw in an imitation of Rebozo’s limp wrist for good measure.
Of course this could easily be chalked up to Haig’s jealousy over Rebozo’s unshakably close connection to the president. But what of the repeated journalistic whispers—like the Time magazine reporter quoted by Fulsom, who claimed that when he once bent down to retrieve his fork at a Washington dinner, he realized that Nixon and Rebozo were holding hands under the table?
Above the table, Nixon was far from a lover of the gays: When a close aide to President Johnson was caught having sex with a former sailor in a YMCA bathroom, Nixon called the man “ill,” and added that such people “cannot be in places of high trust.”
Yet even in the darkest of times, like Nixon’s 1974 near-impeachment and resignation, the president and Rebozo remained intimate friends. Rebozo was at Nixon’s bedside during his last days in 1994, and when Rebozo himself died four years later, he left millions to the Nixon Presidential Library.