• U.S.

THE PRESIDENCY: Whale on Trout Hook

5 minute read

Two unwonted characters moved within President Roosevelt’s orbit last week— a hard-bitten former Rum Row sea captain and a brash, lanky senior at the University of North Carolina.

The old time rumrunner was Captain Bill (“The Real”) McCoy, now living in West Palm Beach, Fla. where he owns an apartment house and builds boats with his brother Ben. He announced last week that in 1934 he had been commissioned by one P. D. Pina Chevalier, an uncle of President Trujillo Molina of the Dominican Republic, to design a $20,000 all-mahogany schooner as a Dominican gift to Franklin Roosevelt. Captain McCoy said the designs were all finished, approved by Mr. Roosevelt, and he was only waiting for suitable mahogany to be found to go to the Dominican Republic and supervise construction. Great was bluff Capt. McCoy’s embarrassment when, at week’s end, Uncle P. D. Pina Chevalier announced that the gift schooner story was “without any foundation.”

Better luck attended the limelight performance of Voit Gilmore, 20, chairman of the nonpartisan, undergraduate Carolina Political Union (and president of his Chi Psi chapter). He began working last summer to get the foremost U. S. political orator of the age down to Chapel Hill to address his group, which prides itself on paying no honorariums and on cross-questioning its speakers when they are through. His college president, Dr. Frank Porter Graham, Senators Josiah Baileyand Bob Reynolds, Representative Bob Doughton and officials of the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. at Winston-Salem (where Voit Gilmore lives) all helped him. In October he drove up to Washington, following a barrage of telegrams and letters, and made life miserable for White House Secretary Marvin Mclntyre until three weeks later, having industriously backed Mr. Roosevelt into a corner, he received word from Mclntyre that the President would really come. Voit Gilmore then had to rush around raising $350 expense money. He told his hard-working mother (whom he calls “Bimble”) that he felt as though he had “landed a whale on a trout hook.” At last, this week, came the great day. Voit Gilmore rode over from Chapel Hill to the railroad station at Sanford, N. C. with Governor Hoey to receive the President of the United States.

After becoming (for the 16th time) an LL.D., Franklin Roosevelt made a speech (broadcast nationwide) in which he invoked the shade of Theodore Roosevelt as a fighting “liberal,” exhorted U. S. youth to “go places” for Democracy. His prologue:

“You undergraduates who see me for the first time have read your newspapers and heard on the air that I am, at the very least, an ogre — a consorter with communists, a destroyer of the rich, a breaker of our ancient traditions. You think of me perhaps as the inventor of the economic royalist, of the wicked utilities, of the money changers of the temple. You have heard for six years that I was about to plunge the nation into war; that you and your little brothers would be sent to the bloody fields of battle in Europe; that I was driving the nation into bankruptcy, and that I breakfasted every morning on a dish of ‘grilled millionaire.’

“Actually I am an exceedingly mild mannered person—a practitioner of peace, both domestic and foreign, a believer in the capitalistic system, and for my breakfast a devotee of scrambled eggs.

“You have read that as a result of balloting last November the liberal forces in the United States are on their way to the cemetery—yet I ask you to remember that liberal forces in the United States have often been killed and buried—with the inevitable result that in short order they have come to life again with more strength then they had before.”

> In Washington, professional soldiers were boiling over at the extent to which the new National Defense program was being taken in hand by such Presidential intimates as Messrs. Hopkins, Aubrey Williams and Tommy Corcoran, leaving the high commands in the dark.

> To succeed retired Surgeon General Perceval Rossiter of the U. S. Navy, the President upped his White House Physician, Captain Ross Mclntire, to rear admiral and surgeon general. Many another President has eased White House naval, military and medical aides upstairs to high berths, often to the disgust of their ranking officers. Woodrow Wilson thus made Lieutenant Commander Gary Travers Grayson a rear admiral; Warren Harding created bumbling old Charles Sawyer a brigadier general, U. S. Army medical reserve. In upping his friend and doctor last week, Franklin Roosevelt promoted an able, modest eye-ear-nose-&-throat man. Far from loafing in his White House nook, Dr. Mclntire has worked daily at the Naval Hospital in Washington, lectured regularly at the U. S. Naval medical school.

> Speaker Bankhead of the House was a Warm Springs visitor. Points for the press: Everything about the reorganization of House committees was sweet and smooth; there would be no such thing as “Must” legislation next session.

> “I, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, do invite the attention of our citizens and of friends beyond our borders to the World’s Fair at New York and the Golden Gate International Exposition at San Francisco. . . .” read an official proclamation.

> Son James Roosevelt got an offer good enough to accept from Film Producer Sam Goldwyn (real name: Goldfish), became a Goldwyn vice president obviously for his political protective value.

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