Senator Thurmond Quits Irish National Caucus Because of Clinton Support

Posted By: March 29, 2013

Washington, D.C., October 1, 1998 — The oldest member of the U.S. Senate has resigned as a Congressional Friend of the Capitol Hill-based Irish lobby, the Irish National Caucus. 95-year-old Strom Thurmond, Republican from South Carolina, has asked that his name be taken of the list of Congressional Friends that appears on the Caucus’ official letterhead. (81 names of U.S. Senators and Representatives, Republican and Democrat, appear on the stationery).

What caused the Senator to withdraw his name was the letter Fr. Sean McManus, President of the Irish National Caucus, sent to all Members of Congress protesting the unfair and partisan attempts to drive President Clinton from office. Fr. McManus wrote,

“The President sinned sexually and tried to conceal it. That — and that alone — is what this sorry issue is about. To try to impeach the President for that would be to trivialize and demean the impeachment process. Jefferson, Madison, and Mason would be turning in their graves at such an absurd prospect. The President did not use his Office to subvert the Constitution or to destroy the The President has confessed his sin and has asked for forgiveness. Let those in Congress without sin cast the first stone. History and the voters will render a decisive judgment on Members of Congress who for their own selfish, self-righteous, or partisan reasons try to destroy the Presidency of Bill Clinton.”

Duke Short, Sen. Thurmond’s Chief of Staff, called Fr. McManus on Thursday, October 1, 1998. “Mr. Short was concerned that people would think Senator Thurmond was in agreement with my letter,” said Fr. McManus. “I expressed my surprise at that and told him that I did not think that anybody could possibly think that the individuals listed on our letterhead as

Congressional Friends would be seen as agreeing with or endorsing every letter we wrote That clearly is not the role of our Congressional Friends, nor would we ever accept that our

Congressional Friends would or could have a veto on any letter we send out. But Mr. Short explained that the Senator had not publicly said anything about the Clinton issue because it may be coming before the Senate, and he therefore did not want the Senator to remain on our stationery. He asked us to remove the Senator’s name from our letterhead, and of course we shall. His name will not appear on the new stationery we print up for the new Congress in 1999,” said Fr. McManus.

Strom Thurmond had given permission to the Caucus to list him as a Congressional Friend in a letter dated September 22, 1982. He wrote,

“Dear Fr. McManus,

Thank you for your recent letter asking for a photograph and statement of support. I hope the attached photo and the quotation below will meet your needs.

Throughout history, countries in all parts of the world have experienced some form of internal division. Fortunately, for many, these differences were resolved in time. It is my sincere hope, and prayer, that peace and unity will soon come to Ireland, and that a mutually beneficial arrangement may be reached for the good of all its citizens. I commend the Irish National Caucus for its unceasing efforts to make this dream a reality.”