Former secret service agent, Clint Hill penned a book that outlined his experience in the White House with five presidents: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford.
Clint Hill wrote about many interesting stories detailing his life as a top-Secret Service agent. One of those stories was about John F. Kennedy’s concern about Jackie Kennedy’s (possible) improper relationship with Aristotle Onassis. Kennedy was so worried about their relationship that he ordered his number one Secret Service agent, Clint Hill, to make sure Jackie stayed away from the wealthy shipping magnate during a vacation she took alone in 1961.
Daily Mail reported that President Kennedy summoned his top agent, Clint Hill, to make sure his wife stayed as far away as possible from Mr. Onassis while vacationing in Greece. Kennedy told him that he was worried that Aristotle may try to woo his wife because he had the reputation for being a womanizer. Bobby Kennedy was in the room with them, according to Hill, and he told him that they were “concerned that Onassis had designs for the First Lady” and that it was his job to protect her.
In Hill’s book, Five Presidents: My Extraordinary Journey with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford, he explained that two years later, Kennedy allowed his beautiful wife to spend time with Onassis on his luxury yacht following the tragic loss of their son, Patrick. Onassis took Jackie on a cruise through the Mediterranean in an attempt to get her mind off her painful loss.
Clint explained that Kennedy knew that Aristotle was an “opportunist” but he was worried about his wife’s mental state after losing Patrick. Deep down, Hill stated that he was worried that he may have sent her straight into the arms of another man.
It wasn’t the first time Jackie met Onassis, according to Hill. She first met him in 1958 on a yacht meeting with Winston Churchill. At the time, Jack was a presidential candidate and wanted to meet Aristotle because he looked up to him and how he handled his businesses. As the men talked business, Onassis made every attempt possible to talk to Mrs. Kennedy. Later in an interview, Jackie admitted that she felt smitten right away with Mr. Onassis.
Not only did Onassis have a reputation for being a womanizer, but there were some serious legal issues with the United States. Hill recalls that Aristotle was accused of fraud (among other things).
“The attorney general and I wanted to make one thing clear and that is, whatever you do in Greece, do not let Mrs. Kennedy cross paths with Aristotle Onassis'”
Hill reported that he did as he was told and kept Mrs. Kennedy away from Onassis. Clint stated that Jackie shopped, went to museums, and even went to a few nightclubs.
“I never did figure out a good explanation for President Kennedy’s request to keep Mrs. Kennedy away from Aristotle Onassis other than the fact Mr. Onassis had been in legal trouble with the United States, and perhaps the President was concerned about repercussions should the press have gotten photos of Onassis and Mrs. Kennedy together. On that trip in 1961 however, Mrs. Kennedy did not cross paths with Aristotle Onassis.”
Two years later, in 1963, Jackie revisited Greece, only this time she was Aristotle’s guest on his yacht. Jackie had a difficult time dealing with Patrick’s death, and Kennedy was worried his wife was sinking into despair. Willing to do anything to help her, President Kennedy agreed that she could go to Greece as Onassis’s guest.
When she returned home, two weeks later, she was healed and seemed much different. President Kennedy wanted to believe that she just needed time away and refused to believe anything else was the root of her change.
The irony of JFK’s suspicions about Jackie’s relationship with Onassis is he had been cheating on her for years. He allegedly had dozens of admirers and flings, including a long-term relationship with actress Marilyn Monroe.
In Hill’s book, he describes the moment he knew that John F. Kennedy was dead on November 22, 1963. He was running alongside the car and jumped into the car after he heard the first gunshot. The third shot hit the president’s head. Hill described it as “sounding like a watermelon hit the concrete.” Clint stated that was the moment that Kennedy’s head exploded.
“Mrs. Kennedy’s eyes filled with terror as she reached out and grabbed a piece of the President’s head that had flown onto the trunk. She didn’t even know I was there. She was in complete shock. Her husband’s head had just exploded inches from her face. My God! They have shot his head off!”
Years later, Hill was reassigned to train Secret Service agents. As part of the training, the recruits were required to watch Kennedy’s assassination. Clint admitted he suffered from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and turned to alcohol to self-medicate. It is something “he isn’t proud of.”
Read more about Clint Hill’s extraordinary career and life by purchasing his book titled, Five Presidents: My Extraordinary Journey with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford.
[Photo By AP Images/Jim Pringle]