TRU Blog

TRU Blog

From the President’s Grandson: Clifton Truman Daniel | March 14, 2018

From the President’s Grandson: Clifton Truman Daniel

Carrying on the legacy of a family member can be a challenge for anyone, but even more so when that family member was the president of the United States. Clifton Truman Daniel, Harry Truman’s eldest grandson, serves as the Honorary Chair of the Truman Library Institute board and often speaks of his grandfather’s legacy and memories he has of “grandpa.”

Daniel was recently interviewed on the podcast Conversations with Ed Tracy, where he shared about his recent work playing his grandfather in a one-man play, reflected on his travels to Japan to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and discussed the role he plays in promoting President Truman’s legacy. Listen to the interview or read an abridged transcript here.

Harry S. Truman with grandsons Clifton and William in 1960.

On Family Secrets…

“People sometimes ask me if he told me anything family-wise different than he had said public, and the answer is no. He would not give you a different answer than he would give me to the same question. He was very consistent that way. Very upfront. Very honest.”

On Visiting Hiroshima and Nagasaki…

“We sat down and listened to testimony from more than two dozen survivors just to let them tell the story. Not one of them came to me in anger or with the thought of retribution, or with a question of apology. All they wanted to do was ask me to continue to tell their story so the rest of the world would know what it is like to live through a nuclear explosion so we don’t do it again.”

On Harry Truman’s Presidential Legacy…

“People sometimes ask what I think my grandfather’s greatest accomplishment as President was, and the answer I started giving some years ago was not the Marshall Plan, not the Truman Doctrine, not the bombings, not the Berlin Airlift, but, simply showing us all that – and I hate to call him ‘ordinary’ … I hate to call anyone ‘ordinary’ – but showing us all that a middle-class guy, raised in the Midwest, a small businessman, a soldier, an entrepreneur, can rise to the highest office in the land and do a better job of it than almost anyone else.”

On the Role of the President…

“[My grandfather] often said that every interest group has their own lobbyist. They have their Congressmen. They have their Senator. The people, the vast majority of people, in this country have only one lobbyist and that is the President of the United States. That, for me, is what I would like to see again – someone who puts the country, and these days, the world– ahead of personal interests. Ahead of votes.”

On the Truman Library…

“He envisioned the presidential library not only as a repository for presidential papers, but as an institution to teach Americans about United States government, world events and the presidency. So, he always saw his presidential library as a teaching institution, which the Truman Library still is.”

Read an abridged version of the interview Conversations with Ed Tracy’s blog, or listen to the podcast on iTunesLibsyn or Stitcher

.Join our email list to receive Truman updates right in your inbox:

Sign Up for Email Updates