David Petraeus has a extreme interest in learning how Dwight D. Eisenhower was able to overcome his love affair with Kay Summersby and run for president. During a dinner in Washington with historian Jean Edward Smith this past year Petraeus was allegedly “eager” to hear how an expert comment on the subject, according to an anecdote in Smith’s forthcoming biography of George W. Bush.
Smith, who wrote Eisenhower’s biography and is currently working on the biography of George W. Bush Jr., believes that Petraeus is looking to move past his own affair with Paula Broadwell and make a run for the white house. Smith claims that, during his dinner with Petraeus, the retired four-star general brought up Eisenhower’s affair and that the two spent a majority of the meal discussing the subject. He claims that Petraeus asked several specific questions about how Eisenhower successfully put the affair behind him to run for president in 1952 and Smith claims that “The reason for Petraeus’s interest was evident.”
Petraeus responded to Smith’s allegations by claiming that Smith: “obviously read something into our conversation that was not founded.” However, he did go on to mention that he thought that his dinner with Smith was off the record and private.
Political pundits and government officials have long speculated that Petraeus will one day make a run for the White House. Petraeus has been denying these speculations since the beginning.
Petraeus resigned from his position in the CIA in 2012 due to complications from his affair with Broadwell. He has since pled guilty to misdemeanor charges for mishandling classified materials, which he gave to Broadwell to write his Biography.
Before his resignation it was believed Petraeus would replace Shirley Tilghman as the president of Princeton University. From there he was expected to seek the Republican nomination for the 2016 election. Smith believes his affair postponed his plan to take the White House and he is attempting to prepare for the 2020 election.
Since resigning Petraeus has become more involved in politics, despite his longstanding claim that he does not want to become involved in politics. He has joined and anit-gun groups, supported anti-gun legislation, and commented on the Hillary Clinton email scandal. All actions that some political pundits claim are aimed at appealing to Democrats should he run for president.
Despite all of these allegations Petraeus remains committed to denying any political aspirations. He said about his conversation with Smith and the resulting allegations:
“Jean Edward Smith obviously read something into our conversation that was not founded. Indeed, I am a bit surprised that he recounted what I thought was a private conversation! In any event, nothing to what he seems to have surmised!”
Smith has denied any further comments on the subject through his publicist, Maureen Cole of Simon and Schuster.