Lyndon Johnson’s Pink Purge

Newly-released documents from the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas reveal how the Johnson Administration purged two men from the White House after years of loyal service, on the grounds of homosexual conduct.

Walter Jenkins, a longtime aid and special assistant, was arrested in 1964 on morals charges for misconduct in a YMCA bathroom, creating a public scandal in the midst of a re-election campaign. Jenkins resigned at Johnson’s request.

Documents now show that another aid, Robert Waldron, who was similarly arrested on morals charges, was purged by the Administration at the same time—even though Waldron was never accused of wrongdoing or publicly identified as gay at the time he worked for Johnson.

Waldron, like Jenkins, was expendable within the context of a deeply homophobic atmosphere in the United States, and in the Washington political arena.

Read more about the Mattachine Society’s work in Lou Chibarro’s Washington Blade article, published this week.