November 22, 1963, is a day that has gone down in history as the day US president John Fitzgerald Kennedy lost his life by an assassins bullet. Do you know though, that America nearly lost two presidents within a 24 hour period? Newly sworn in president, Lyndon Baines Johnson was almost shot by the Secret Service.
This remarkable revelation was revealed in a book, The Kennedy Detail: JFK’s Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence, which is the first account of the assassination of JFK by members of the Secret Service who were working that day. So how was LBJ almost shot by the Secret Service?
Following Kennedy’s death, agent Gerald Blaine of the Secret Service, had been ordered to look after the new presidents house in Washington DC. The night after Kennedy was assassinated, a mere 14 hours later, Blaine was in the new presidents house when he heard footsteps. Already on high alert following the events of November 22, he was prepared to take action. Blaine loudly cocked his submachine gun in the hope that it would deter the approaching person. The footsteps didn’t stop. He placed the gun to his shoulder, with his finger firmly on the trigger ready to fire. The approaching person rounded the corner with Blaine’s heart racing, and the barrel of the gun pointed firmly at the mans chest.
The approaching man was none other than the new president, Lyndon Johnson. Only 14 hours after having lost one president, the country had come exceedingly close to losing another.
Had the Secret Service accidentally shot Lyndon B Johnson, the role of president would have fallen to Speaker of the House, John W McCormack, and history would have been so very much different.