Ike invites Congressman under his umbrella

“Last week [President Eisenhower] flew to Charlotte, N.C. for ceremonies commemorating the signing of the Mecklenburg Declaration…. The trip’s real purpose was to assist Charles R. Jonas, 49, who is up for re-election as North Carolina’s sole Republican Congressman.

“Without any open endorsements or overt politicking, Ike managed to give Jonas his beaming blessing. The President, said a G.O.P. strategist, ‘is like a man with an umbrella—everyone wants to stand under it with him.’ ”

— From Time magazine, May 31, 1954

Jonas won a second term and served 10 terms in all before retiring.

One thought on “Ike invites Congressman under his umbrella”

  1. Congressman Jonas, “Mr. Charlie,” was one of my neighbors during my childhood. For years he’d drop by the house, pick up some tomatoes, and then invite me over to “get a few presidential signatures” from the boxes in his garage. (He had retired from Lincolnton to his home in Denver by then.) I never took advantage of the offer. Now, his papers are in the Southern Historical Collection. I remember walking past the graduate students one day in Wilson Library as they began to process his stuff, and I couldn’t help wondering just how many presidential signatures might be in that box they were handling.

    My great grandfather had been the driver for Congressman Jonas’ own father for a brief period during the elder Jonas’ politicking during the 1930s. As my papaw told it, he was one of the men who would drive Congressman Charles A. Jonas around to neighboring farms to visit potential voters. It was important for these drivers not waste the congressman’s time by taking him to homes that wouldn’t vote for him no matter what he stood for or what he promised.

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