Would Huey Long really have had Josiah Bailey shot?

On this day in 1935: Once again assailing the Roosevelt administration on the floor of the Senate, rogue populist Huey Long of Louisiana points toward New Deal supporter Josiah Bailey of North Carolina. About the existence of poverty, Long asks rhetorically, “You will take my word for it, won’t you?” Bailey stands and, as gasps echo from the galleries, replies that “I am utterly unwilling to take your word for that or anything else!” In the ensuing exchange, Long threatens to campaign against Bailey’s reelection, and Bailey suggests that Long’s interference in N.C. politics would be met with tar and feathers.

Remarkably, the two will remain friends. Long often drops by Bailey’s Mayflower Hotel apartment for drinks, and Bailey invites Long on fishing trips from Morehead City. On one such expedition Long, expounding his plans to become dictator-president, supposedly says his first move would be to have Bailey shot. Bailey is amused, but confides later that he thought Long had been perfectly serious. Long himself is assassinated on Sept. 8, 1935.

 

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