Kevin Yoder, JFK, and Other Politicians Who Skinny Dipped (PHOTOS)

Rep. Kevin Yoder isn’t the first politico to swim nude. See other politicians, from Ben Franklin to JFK, caught wading in the buff.

Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) was forced to apologize after allegations surfaced that he had gone skinny-dipping in the Sea of Galilee while on a congressional junket last year. But Yoder, who said he feels “incredibly remorseful” about the incident, is actually in very good company. From John Quincy Adams to LBJ, meet the politicians who have liked to swim in the nude.

Bill Clark

Rep. Kevin Yoder

Yoder was on a fact-finding trip to Israel paid for by the American Israel Educational Foundation when he took off his clothes and jumped into the water in front of several colleagues and a few of their family members. Several other trip participants also went swimming, but none of them disrobed completely. The late-night dip reportedly took place after a long dinner with drinks being served. The incident angered Rep. Eric Cantor, the senior Republican on the junket, who scolded the lawmakers for being distracted.


Ben Franklin

Known for his skills as an inventor, diplomat, and author, Ben Franklin also was an avid swimmer who enjoyed a good dip, whether he was clothed or naked. Franklin, who is credited with inventing the swim fin, was an accomplished swimmer who could handle long distances in the water as a young man. Franklin also enjoyed what he called “air baths” where he would sit without any clothes on for about an hour in the morning before starting his work.

Theodore Roosevelt

In his autobiography, Theodore Roosevelt recounted how he tried to sneak in his exercise while living in the White House. Some days that meant playing tennis or going horseback riding. Other days that meant going swimming in Rock Creek or the Potomac. “If we swam the Potomac, we usually took off our clothes,” Roosevelt wrote.

Lyndon Baines Johnson

Not only did Lyndon Baines Johnson go skinny-dipping in the White House pool, he was at least at one point accompanied by famed evangelist Billy Graham. The preacher was visiting Johnson in the Oval Office when the president suggested that they take a dip. “That no one had brought a bathing suit was no deterrent,” Graham later wrote. “[I]n years to come the president would often interrupt meetings to suggest [a] swim and needle anyone who was reluctant to strip naked and dive in a baptism in intimacy.”

John F. Kennedy

Johnson wasn’t the only president to wade in the White House pool sans swim trunks. John F. Kennedy routinely took dips in the buff while a Secret Service stood guard, according to Seymour Hersh’s titillating exposé, The Dark Side of Camelot. Of course, Kennedy had company. According to one Secret Service agent, Kennedy’s two favorite assistants, nicknamed Fiddle and Faddle, joined him for nude swims. If Jackie were on her way to the pool, the trio would scramble for cover, the agent told Hersh. “You could see one big pair of footprints and two smaller pair of wet footprints leading to the Oval Office.” 

John Quincy Adams

Like many fit politicos, John Quincy Adams would wake up early every morning—around 5 a.m.—for his daily exercise. He’s in a smaller company, however, for doing it nude. Adams swam each day in the Potomac River, fully nude—a risky routine, as he learned after refusing an interview with reporter Ann Royall. She reportedly hiked to Adams’s preferred bathing locale, gathered his clothes, and held them hostage until he agreed to speak with her. When the naked commander in chief relented, he became the first president to grant a female journalist an interview.

Tim Graham

Male Senators Circa 1980

Sen. Paula Hawkins, a Florida Republican who served one term in the U.S. Senate from 1981 to 1987, was a trailblazer. She was one of the first women to be elected to the Senate without having been the wife or daughter of a politician. She pushed through the monumental Missing Children’s Act of 1982 and supported legislation aimed at helping women in the job market. She also forced senators to wear bathing suits while swimming in the Senate gym, so she could unashamedly work out at the formerly all-male—and often nude—fitness center during the daytime.