Fact Check: NO Evidence Nancy Pelosi Had An Affair With JFK

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: NO Evidence Nancy Pelosi Had An Affair With JFK Claim ≠ Proof

Did Nancy Pelosi have an affair with John F. Kennedy for "7 long years"? No, that's not true: This meme, which features a real photo of a young Nancy Pelosi with John F. Kennedy, makes a false accusation alleging an affair, a claim that materialized in 2020 without evidence. This version of the claim offers no source. The claim has not surfaced in history books -- not even as an old unverified rumor.

The meme went viral in 2020 and circulated again in 2021. One post (archived here) was published on March 21, 2021. The text in the meme read:

They want to erase history.. lets get this viral ya'll.

Nancy Pelosi and JFK, whom she had an affair with for 7 long years.
He was 43 years old in 1960, she was 20.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Thu Apr 1 16:46:12 2021 UTC)

Although undated, this is a real photo of Nancy Pelosi and President John F. Kennedy. Nancy Pelosi shared this photo on Facebook on January 20, 2011, with this caption:

50 years ago today, I was a young Trinity College student standing outside in the sunlit cold, listening to a young President's inaugural call to 'the energy, the faith, the devotion...that will light our country and all who serve it - and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.' The leadership of President John F. Kennedy is not just a memory, but a living force that still asks every citizen to lead--and perhaps that is the most precious gift of all.

Nancy Pelosi was born on March 26, 1940, the daughter of a Baltimore Democrat who served in the U.S. House and as Mayor of Baltimore and whom Kennedy nominated to a federal agency that kept watch on defense contractor profiteering. The inauguration of President John F Kennedy took place on January 20, 1961, and Kennedy was 43 at the time. Nancy Pelosi would have been 20 years old, about to be 21 in a few months. JFK was assassinated on November 22, 1963. Nancy Pelosi would have been 23 years old. This meme claims, with no source for that claim, that they had an affair "for 7 long years." Seven years before the death of JFK, in 1956, Nancy Pelosi was only 16 years old.

On August 4, 2008, Nancy Pelosi was a guest speaker at the Kennedy Library, where a copy of her talk is archived. She shared several stories about meeting John F. Kennedy in her youth. In each of these stories she was with her father and she mentions no personal familiarity with John F. Kennedy.

The first time she met him was in Baltimore, Maryland, before he became president. Then-Sen. Kennedy spoke at the United Nations Association, and the Kennedy Archive has a record of a United Nations Association of Maryland Dinner speech on February 27, 1958. Pelosi accompanied her father, Thomas D'Alesandro Jr., who was then the mayor of Baltimore, to the dinner and wound up seated directly next to the senator. Pelosi would have been only 17 at the time. In her Kennedy Library talk in 2008, she retold the story from the point of view of a star-struck teenager.

The next story she shared in that 2008 talk is from the time of the 1960 Democratic National Convention, which was held at the L.A. Coliseum. She told of Kennedy's fantastic speech and of her family going to Romanoff's Restaurant afterward, and that it was a very expensive restaurant -- a big deal because it was her special treat. While there with her family, JFK arrived with his entourage and came over to their table and greeted her father. She explained:

He came right over the table. "Mr. Mayor, how are you? Thanks for all you're doing to help and all the rest." I had on this big pin that said "Youth for Kennedys." Oh, it was so exciting. We could hardly ... and the prices just seemed to melt. They just seemed to melt. But it was pretty exciting.

The final story she shared was from the time of JFK's inauguration and how cold it was on the steps at the Capitol compared to the July heat of the L.A. coliseum and how -- thanks to her father being a former congressman -- they had tickets to seats that were close to the new president. She recalls the words of his speech:

...in his speech, you all know because you've read it in the history books that President Kennedy said to the citizens of America, "Ask not what our country can do for you, but what you can do for our country." Everybody remembers that, right? We don't remember it, but you read about it, right? But do you remember and do you know that the very next line in the speech, the very next line -- and I always remember this -- the very next line President Kennedy said to the citizens of the world? "Ask not what America can do for you, but what we can do working together for the freedom of man-kind." I add 'kind' but it was freedom of man in those days.

By Pelosi's own stories we know that she did cross paths with John F. Kennedy several times as a very young woman, and she was a big fan. There is no available credible evidence of an ongoing personal relationship.

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Southeastern Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


 

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