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In New Book, Former White House Intern Details Her Alleged Affair With JFK

Mimi Alford in an interview with Rock Center.
NBC News
Mimi Alford in an interview with Rock Center.

The New York Post has gotten their hands on a new memoir from a woman called Mimi Alford in which the now 68-year-old grandmother details an 18-month affair with President John F. Kennedy.

The Post calls it an "explosive new tell-all" titled "Once Upon a Secret: My Affair With President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath." In the book, which will be published by Random House on Wednesday, Alford writes that her affair began in the summer of 1962, when at age 19, she was invited to the White House swimming pool.

The president swam up to her and asked if she was Mimi. The Post adds:

"'Lightning had struck. Later that day, Mimi was invited by Dave Powers, the president's 'first friend' and later the longtime curator of the Kennedy Library in Boston, to an after-work party. When she arrived at the White House residence, Powers and two other young female staffers were waiting. Powers poured, and frequently refilled, her glass with daiquiris until the commander-in-chief arrived.

"The president invited her for a personal tour. She got up, expecting the rest of the group to follow. They didn't. He took her to 'Mrs. Kennedy's room.'

"'I noticed he was moving closer and closer. I could feel his breath on my neck. He put his hand on my shoulder,' she recounts.

"The next thing she knew, he was standing above her, looking directly into her eyes and guiding her to the edge of the bed."

At this point the Post gets graphic, but suffice it to say that Alford writes that she was a virgin when she and the president consummated their relationship and it happened in Jackie Kennedy's bedroom.

Alford's story first came to light in 2003 in Robert Dallek's "An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963," in which Dallek makes a passing mention of Mimi. But as he was writing the book, he convinced Barbara Gamarekian, a former press aide to Kennedy, to release a conversation she had for a 1964 oral history. In it she goes on for 17-pages about the affair.

Gamarekian says that Mimi had a "special relationship" with the president. So much so that when she wanted to complain about being made to stay in Washington by her boss at the press office, she was able to reach the president during the Cuban missile crisis.

Gamarekian describes a gaggle of girls, who travelled with the president and swam with him and were all friends. Alford was among them.

From The New York Post, here a few more highlights from Alford's book:

-- She always called him Mr. President and he never kissed her on the lips.

-- Their last meeting was seven days before his assassination. "He took me in his arms for a long embrace and said, 'I wish you were coming with me to Texas.' And then he added, 'I'll call you when I get back.' I was overcome with sudden sadness. 'Remember, Mr. President, I'm getting married,'" Alford writes.

Alford is scheduled for an interview with NBC News' Rock Center on Wednesday. In excerpts released from that interview Alford talks about being a 19-year-old confronted with the power of the presidency.

"I wouldn't call it non-consensual," she said about their first meeting. "But could I have resisted? No."

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.