Who Killed the Kennedys? Ronald Reagan’s Answer…

Ronald Reagan SC

This year marks not only the 50th anniversary of the shooting of John F. Kennedy but also the 45th anniversary of the shooting of Robert F. Kennedy, which occurred in June 1968. Was there a common source motivating the assassins of both Kennedys—that is, Lee Harvey Oswald and Sirhan Sirhan?

That renowned political philosopher Mick Jagger speculated on a source. “I shouted out ‘Who killed the Kennedys?’” asks the lyrics in the 1968 song by The Rolling Stones. “When, after all, it was you and me.” The song was titled, “Sympathy for the Devil.” It was, The Rolling Stones suggested, the Devil who had killed the Kennedys, along with his accomplices.

I must say I can’t disagree with that one—a rare area of agreement between me and Mick Jagger.

There is, however, a more earthly answer. And it was provided, surprisingly, by a rising political star in the immediate hours after the shooting of Bobby Kennedy. That star was the new governor of California, Ronald Reagan.

RFK was shot in Governor Reagan’s state. Reagan was no stranger to Bobby Kennedy. He had debated him a year earlier on national television, which didn’t go well for RFK, with Reagan clearly outshining him. Kennedy told his handlers to never again put him on the same stage with “that son-of-a-b—-.”

That debate occurred five years after Bobby Kennedy had intervened to get Reagan fired from his long stint as host of the top-rated GE Theatre on CBS—a fact unknown until it was revealed by Michael Reagan in his excellent book, The New Reagan Revolution. Typical of Reagan, he harbored no bitterness toward RFK. That was quite unlike Bobby Kennedy, a man who personally knew how to hold a grudge.

On June 5, 1968, Reagan was full of nothing but sympathy for RFK. He appeared on the popular television show of Joey Bishop, one of the extended members of Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack. Bishop and Reagan were old Hollywood friends, and Bishop extended the governor a platform to address the shooting. A transcript of Reagan’s appearance on that show was grabbed by his young chief of staff, Bill Clark, who died just a few months ago. Clark shoved it in a box that ended up in the tack barn at his ranch in central California. It lay there until I, as Clark’s biographer, dug it out three decades later.

That rare surviving transcript reveals a Reagan who spoke movingly about RFK and the entire Kennedy family. Condemning the “savage act,” Reagan pleaded: “I am sure that all of us are praying not only for him but for his family and for those others who were so senselessly struck down also in the fusillade of bullets…. I believe we should go on praying, to the best of our ability.”

But particularly interesting was how Reagan unflinchingly pointed a finger of blame in the direction of Moscow. Reagan noted that Kennedy’s killer, Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian Arab and also a communist, had shot Kennedy because of his support of Israel during the Six Day War that had occurred exactly one year earlier. On that, we now know beyond dispute what Reagan knew then: That war had been shamelessly provoked by the Kremlin.

Looking to exploit divisions in the Middle East and further exacerbate America’s foreign-policy problems at the time (we were mired in Vietnam), Soviet officials cooked up false intelligence reports claiming that Israeli troops had been moved into the Golan Heights and were readying to invade Syria. They peddled the malicious, phony information to Egypt and other Arab states for the explicit purpose of creating a military confrontation with Israel. The Israeli leader, Levi Eshkol, immediately denounced the accusation, telling the Soviet ambassador to his face that there were no Israeli troops there whatsoever, and offering to personally drive him to the Golan at once. Acting on orders, the ambassador flatly refused, shouting “Nyet!” at Eshkol and storming out of the prime minister’s residence. The Egyptians, too, checked their intelligence sources and found no evidence of Israeli troops in the Golan. Nonetheless, the pieces were in motion, and one thing dangerously led to another until everything spiraled out of control. Within mere weeks, the Six Day War was on—precipitated by the Kremlin. The egregious depths of Soviet disinformation spawned a major Middle East war.

RFK supported Israel in that war. Sirhan Sirhan never forgave him for that. He killed him for that.

Again, Ronald Reagan knew about the Soviet role in instigating the conflict, which he apparently pieced together via various reports at the time. As a result, he linked Bobby Kennedy’s assassination to the USSR’s mischief in the Middle East. “The enemy sits in Moscow,” Reagan told Joey Bishop. “I call him an enemy because I believe he has proven this, by deed, in the Middle East. The actions of the enemy led to and precipitated the tragedy of last night.”

Moscow had precipitated the Six Day War in June 1967, which, in turn, had prompted RFK’s assassin in June 1968.

But Reagan wasn’t finished positioning blame where it deserved to be placed. Eight days later, on July 13, 1968, Reagan delivered a forgotten speech in Indianapolis. Both the Indianapolis News and Indianapolis Star reported on Reagan’s remarks, but the only full transcript I’ve seen was likewise located in Bill Clark’s private papers. In that speech, Reagan leveled this charge at international communism, with an earlier Kennedy assassination in mind: “Five years ago, a president was murdered by one who renounced his American citizenship to embrace the godless philosophy of communism, and it was communist violence he brought to our land. The shattering sound of his shots were still ringing in our ears when a policy decision was made to play down his communist attachment lest we provoke the Soviet Union.”

Reagan was spot on. As many conservative writers are currently noting, liberals in the immediate moments after the JFK assassination sought to blame everything but Oswald’s love of communism, love of the Soviet Union, and love of Castro’s Cuba as motivations for what he did. Some blamed the climate of alleged “hate” and “bigotry” and “violence” in Dallas for the shooting. They ached to blame the right, fulfilling James Burnham’s timeless maxim: “For the left, the preferred enemy is always to the right.” Amazingly, they attempted to label Oswald a “right-winger,” which was utterly upside down. He was a left-winger, as far left as one could get. Oswald was a completely committed communist. He was head over heels for Castro’s Cuba in particular. He adored Fidel. After defecting to and then leaving the Soviet Union after a long stay there, he went back to Texas (with a Soviet wife) and then tried everything to get to Havana and serve the revolution there. JFK and Fidel despised one another; each wanted the other dead. Guess who Oswald sided with on that one?

The Warren Commission later agonized over the possible motivations of Oswald. In the end, it determined that it “could not make any definitive determination of Oswald’s motives.” To its credit, the commission “endeavored to isolate the factors which contributed to his character and which might have influenced his decision to assassinate President Kennedy.” It listed five factors, which appear on page 23 of the huge commission report. Among the five, the fifth underscored Oswald’s “avowed commitment to Marxism and communism,” and noted specifically his ardor for Moscow and Havana.  The commission concluded that this did indeed contribute to Oswald’s “capacity to risk all in cruel and irresponsible actions.”

Nonetheless, Oswald’s passion for international communism, from Russia to the Western Hemisphere, has been downplayed by the American left and many Americans generally from the literal moment we learned that John F. Kennedy had been shot.

One American who was never blind to that motivation was Ronald Reagan. More than that, Reagan wasn’t naïve to the role of international communism in the shooting of RFK either.

For the record, this is not to say that Lee Harvey Oswald or Sirhan Sirhan acted as conscious, deliberate agents trained and ordered by the Soviets or the Cubans, though some—such as Ion Mihai Pacepa—have examined that possibility in depth. Their actions, however, cannot or should not be separated from the malevolent force of international communism, which unquestionably played a role in their ultimate deadly actions.


Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College, executive director of The Center for Vision & Values, and New York Times best-selling author of the book, “The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.” His other books include “The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism” and “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.”


Editor’s note: This article first appeared at American Spectator.

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  1. VW Kellogg says:

    what bunch of crap, everyone knows the CIA killed both Kennedy's. They would have a dynasty of three sons that could become President. Scared, no, but terrified that the Country could be under control of the Kennedy's for decades, because of this possiblity the rich elite bastards killed JFK and RFK. One World Order plan was and still is their goal. tear down and strip America of it's jobs, wealth and now heath.

    • I think there were several people involved in the planning and mission of murdering the Kennedys. And more that were aware of that plan. The democrat government had to be in on it because of the street where Oswald was waiting in the building.Probably the same CIA or their followers who rigged the islamic communist puppet's (obama) life and back ground and let him into this country and politics. The communists were aware or helped with Oswald being a communist and living in Russia and no doubt kept tract of his contacts and the communists are known from Hitler to be friendly with islam helpers.

    • Right on Kellogg. The CIA working with various groups, none of which were leftists or Communists has been responsible for many other deaths as well as numerous false flag operations. Everyone in this country's power structure hated JFK and for reasons of power and wealth. Who had the most to gain from wacking Kennedy? You can start withLBJ, then the CIA,the military-industrial complex, the Texas oilmen and the bankers. Anyone who knows the facts will understand why.

  2. Sorry, but you are wrong about Oswald. You have completely ignored the facts in the case and are parroting the Warren Commission cover up. Oswald was a patriotic American soldier who was recruited to"defect" to Russia in order to get intelligence for the USA. This was a common practice on both sides. He remained in American intelligence after returning from Russia. As he himself said on his arrest, he was a "patsy". a term used in intelligence to designate a fall guy for a crime. As a dedicated anti Communist please don't be blinded to the facts. Apparently Reagan was too. Communists are not the only ones guilty of heinous crimes.

    • Agree, Oswald was trained to speak Russian when he was in the military. Also those who served with him said he was notorious for being a poor marksman.

  3. Wiseoldlady says:

    Let's also not forget Jon Jon……his muder….
    These liberal communist progressives could never allow such loved and adored men as these rule. The left was JEALOUS plus all the numerous ploys …JFK would stop the NWO…THEY COULD NOT ALLOW THAT.

    Also never forget Ari Onassis….he wanted Jackie…he committed adultery with her while JFK was still alive. Ari was a very corrupt person…kidnapped Howard Hughes…replaced him with 2 imposters…shot Howard Hughes full of heroin for 30 days straight… Ari was behind the mob…need I say more.

    • IN MY OPINION, John JR was dangerous to the unseen hand as he was the editor and publisher of his OWN MAGAZINE; "George", remember? ~ He could print and reveal to the public what the controlled media dared not! ~ ONLY way to stop him from printing what his mother revealed to him was to…OFF HIM!!!

    • Edwardkoziol says:

      Wise JFK was humping Monroe and swo was his brother.Thenremembegood old John was getting his end wet in Sam Giaconna girl friend.Soif Ari was banging Jackie no big deal.What's good for the goose is good for the gander

  4. The Kennedy's and the government need to release all the files relating to this murder of a American president, JFK and RFK may have been government officials but they belonged to the American public and no longer to the Kennedy's or the government and WTP have every right to see all records and evidence collected and allowed to come to our own conclusions. The FOIA is being thwarted as is the rule of law…again….

  5. I think we can all agree that it isn't a who we are talking about but a what. All you need to know is that ideologies anathema to one another were the what. Kennedy was a patriotic American and that is exactly why he was killed. We have many enemies and they conspire as often as possible to destroy our grasp on liberty. Make no mistake that tyrants all hate our Constitution because they think if it were defeated that they would not have people wanting to be free. Lets also not forget that men have always sought freedom and only once was he able to establish a government to deny all others their ages old yearning, to be ruler of the world.

  6. I don't believe that Oswald did the shooting, he was set up and used as the patsy in it all. The shooting was done by someone internally and all of the upper echelons new just who it was that gave that order. Personally, I believe that LBJ was behind it. I could be wrong, however, I don't believe so. I will also go on record as stating that even though I am now a strong Conservative, JFK was the last decent Democrat President.

  7. I don't know. I was under the impression that the Federal Reserve was behind the assassination. Correct me if I'm wrong – and I might be – but, didn't JFK make an executive order to print up as many US treasury notes as possible? As far as I know that order was never rescinded even after LBJ was sworn in (on Air force one, no less).
    There are some other things that don't make sense to me. The police were quick to find where the shots were fired, complete with the murder weapon and ammunition left behind in plain sight. Sure, first rule of assassination is to eliminate the assassin, but who leaves the weapon of choice in plain sight? Also odd is the fact (if I remember correctly) the police picked up Oswald like, a few blocks away from the site, I think moments after the shooting. It's like they knew exactly who the suspect was and where he would be at the particular time, casually strolling along, I think. Now, I'm not saying Oswald didn't do it, but I'm not saying he did, either. While I could be way off, I just think there are a number of things odd about the whole thing. Specifically how police knew where to go and who to get, all in a short period of time.

    • I have read that JFK wanted to get rid of the Federal Reserve. Anyone that wants to get rid of the Federal Reserve is dead…simply put.

  8. Byron Mullet says:

    Marilyn Monroe killed JFK. Now that I have your attention. I have no idea, other than if Oswald didn't do it, why did he run, why did he shoot the policeman and why did he hide in the theatre?

  9. The Shared Agendas of George Soros and Barack Obama
    By Discover The Networks
    February 2011

    While George Soros was busy bankrolling his battalion of established activist groups and launching a few new ones of his own, he quite naturally looked toward the upcoming presidential election of 2008 with great anticipation, eagerly awaiting the day when George W. Bush would finally leave office. The question was, who would replace him? In recent years, all indications had been that Soros favored Hillary Clinton above most, if not all, other potential Democratic candidates for President. But now there was a new face on the scene¯a young, charismatic U.S. senator from Illinois named Barack Obama¯who seemed not only to share virtually all of Soros's values and agendas, but also appeared to be a highly skilled politician who stood a good chance of getting elected to the nation's highest office.

    In December of 2006, Soros, who had previously hosted a fundraiser for Obama during the latter's 2004 Senate campaign, met with Obama in Soros's New York office. Just a few weeks later¯on January 16, 2007¯Obama announced that he would form a presidential exploratory committee and was contemplating a run for the White House. Within hours, Soros sent the senator a contribution of $2,100, the maximum amount allowable under campaign-finance laws. Later that week, the New York Daily News reported that Soros would support Obama rather than Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, though Soros pledged to back the New York senator were she to emerge as the nominee. But it was clear that Soros considered Obama to be the more electable candidate of the two. Most importantly, Obama's economic and political prescriptions for America were wholly accordant with those of Soros.

  10. Edwardkoziol says:

    ActuallyI don't think we will ever get to the bottom of who plugged JFK.There were way to many thatwanted him dead. Maybe it was the pope because JFK wouldn't take orders from him, what do you think?

  11. Putin's Russia international policy has been doing nothing but the same role in attacking America as the old Soviet Union did. That country continues to be indeed the worst enemy of USA so far. Like is Hussein Obama its greater enemy from within. Wake up, America.

  12. jon graham says:

    you people forgot about johnson. he wanted the job more than anybody, so he would help anybody to get there

  13. Thomas Clancy says:

    You are wrong about Sirhan Sirhan. He clearly was in front of RFK and could not have delivered the killing shot at close range behind RFK's right ear. A security guard behind RFK named Eugene Thane Cesar who had been hired for only that night was the shooter.

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