Tags: 2020 Elections | roosevelt | white house | renomination | Hatch Act | trump

FDR Accepted Renomination At White House

fdr sits at a desk with radio mics in front of him
President Franklin D. Roosevelt made his first radio talk to the nation in Washington on Sunday, May 26, 1940,. (AP Photo/Byron Rollins)

By Sunday, 09 August 2020 07:57 AM Current | Bio | Archive

With all the furor raised by President Trump’s recent suggestion that he might accept renomination at the White House, few have pointed out that he wouldn’t be the first President to make an acceptance speech from his official residence.

That was Franklin D. Roosevelt, who, in accepting the Democrats’ nomination in 1940 for an unprecedented third term, made the speech on national radio from the White House.

FDR actually had two speeches with him — the traditional acceptance speech and a speech declining nomination.  He had insisted that the Democratic National Convention nominate his personal choice for vice president — Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace — or he would decline the nomination for President.

That Democrats would reject FDR’s selection for a running mate was by no means out of the realm of possibility.  A committed liberal who had unusual interests such as mysticism, Wallace was also a registered Republican. 

On Thursday, June 16, 1940, wrote Washington Monthly editor Charles Peters in his book on the 1940 election “Five Days in Philadelphia,” “A small group had gathered in the Oval Room, on the second floor of the White House (not the Oval Office in the West Wing). ….Together they listened to the [convention coverage on the] radio….”

Roosevelt’s “face was grim,” wrote Peters, “as it became clear Wallace might be defeated.”  He then wrote on a pad in silence for full five pages, turned to speechwriter Sam Rosenman and said: “Sam, take this inside and go to work on it.  Smooth it out and get it ready for delivery.”

“It was the speech declining the nomination,” according to Peters.

As it turned out, Wallace won the convention — but was told not to deliver an acceptance speech out of fear of being booed. Back at the White House, FDR “was wheeled into his bedroom where he washed, changed his shirt, combed his hair…..and in a few minutes, came out smiling.

“He was wheeled to the broadcast room and began to speak.” 

The Hatch Act banning many government officials from politics and limiting the use of government property for political purposes had been enacted the year before.  But as Trump pointed out last week, it did not apply to the president and vice president, and in 1940, no one seemed to care where the president accepted renomination. 

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now
 

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With all the furor raised by President Trump's recent suggestion that he might accept renomination at the White House, few have pointed out that he wouldn't be the first President to make an acceptance speech from his official residence....
roosevelt, white house, renomination, Hatch Act, trump
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2020-57-09
Sunday, 09 August 2020 07:57 AM
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