Election 1944: Truman denies ever being Klan member (10-26-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (October 26, 1944)


Truman denies ever being Klan member

Report called ‘lie out of whole cloth’

Peoria, Illinois –
Senator Harry S. Truman, Democratic vice-presidential nominee, today described as “a lie out of the whole cloth” a charge that he was a former member of the Ku Klux Klan.

At a news conference shortly after his arrival here, Mr. Truman was told by a reporter for The Chicago Herald-American that there was a report that he was once a member of the Klan.

“I am not a member of the Klan and never was,” he said.

‘Helped beat’ him

The reporter asked Mr. Truman if he knew a man named Harry Hoffman, and Mr. Truman replied that he knew the man and that he “helped beat” him when Hoffman was a candidate for Jackson County (Missouri) marshal in 1922.

The reporter then said Hoffman had signed an affidavit that as Grand Kleagle of the Klan he had sworn Mr. Truman in as a member in 1922.

“That’s a lie out of the whole cloth,” Mr. Truman said. He said the report “started in the campaign of 1922 and was nailed as a lie then.”

Candidate for judge

Mr. Truman said he was a candidate then for county judge in the Eastern District of Jackson County.

In Kansas City, Missouri, Lee M. Allen, one-time Klan Cyclops, charged that Mr. Truman joined the Klan in 1922 and spoke at a big rally of the organization. He alleged that Mr. Truman’s initiation fee check “bounced” and said another member paid it for him.

“He didn’t stay in the organization long – dropped out a short time after the election as I recall it.”