1937 New Dealers Edition. Seems like FDR was off his rocker.
In the midst of these defeats, and the rising unemployment, Roosevelt became more explicit in describing a conspiracy of businessmen trying to undermine his administration. They were still avoiding taxes and refusing to invest in economic development. Morgenthau received first news of this conspiracy in a phone call to Roosevelt in November 1937.
I called the President last night at 6:15 and told him that I was now convinced that we were headed into another depression and that I thought he had to do something about it. I said I would like to call in a number of people over Saturday and Sunday and discuss whether we should do something about gold. From then on the President got very excited, very dictatorial and very disagreeable.
He quoted at great length a man whom he described as a wise old bird” who had told him that there were 2,000 men in this country who had made up their minds that they would hold a pistol to the President’s head and make certain demands of him, otherwise they would continue to depress business. He quoted a lot of other generalities.
I said, “A great deal] depends on who this person is” and, like a crack from a whip, he said, “It is not necessary for you to know who that person is, [“) which, after thinking it over, led me to be lieve that the wise old bird” was himself whom he was quoting
Four days later, when Morgenthau had lunch with the president, Roosevelt again-in mellower terms-described the ominous threat of these mysterious 2,000 men. “Now I don’t say that 2,000 men have all got together and agreed to block us but I do say that 2,000 men have come to about the same conclusion,” Roosevelt insisted.
Interestingly, as the depression within a depression persisted, Roosevelt thought the conspiracy was still there, but that the conspirators had diminished in numbers. At a cabinet meeting in February 1939, with unemployment at 19.3 percent, Roosevelt said that fifty rich men had formed a kind of cabal to raise money to discredit the president. Morgenthau summarized that cabinet meeting and noted that Vice President John Nance Garner, who had been critical of the president, was annoyed at FDR’s allegation. “The Vice-President” according to Morgenthau, “got on a tirade about what he [FDR] said about fifty rich men who had put $5,000,000 into a pot to discredit this Administration and that something should be done about them. …”