Strom Thurmond once hit on teenage Chelsea Clinton: report
© Getty Images

Chelsea Clinton allegedly once had to endure advances from the late former Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) while seated next to him at a lunch when she was a teenager.

Former House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Texas) recalled observing Thurmond, who had a reputation for flirting shamelessly with women, come on to a 16-year-old Chelsea during former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonCampaign dads fit fatherhood between presidential speeches Dems eye repeal of Justice rule barring presidential indictments Dems eye repeal of Justice rule barring presidential indictments MORE's 1997 inauguration lunch.

"She had Strom Thurmond on one side of her and me on the other," DeLay told Mother Jones in an interview published Monday. "I thought, 'What a terrible thing to do a young lady.' Strom Thurmond, he kept hitting on her." 


Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats' 2020 Achilles's heel: The Senate Democrats' 2020 Achilles's heel: The Senate House Intel Republican: 'Foolish' not to take info on opponent from foreign ally MORE recounted the awkward seating arrangement in her 2003 memoir “Living History.” In addition to Chelsea Clinton being seated next to Thurmond and DeLay, the arrangement had Hillary Clinton next to then-Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.).

"Perhaps it was someone's idea of a joke to seat me next to Newt Gingrich and to put Chelsea between the House Republican Whip, Tom DeLay, and the frisky nonagenarian Senator from South Carolina, Strom Thurmond,” she wrote.

Thurmond proceeded to compare Chelsea Clinton’s looks to her mother’s, according to Hillary Clinton’s account in “Living History”:

" 'I think you're nearly as pretty as your mama,' the senator said with that silky Southern charm that had gained him quite a reputation.

"By the middle of the meal, he mused, 'You're as pretty as your mama. She's real pretty and you're pretty too. Yes, you are. You're as pretty as your mama.'

"By the time dessert arrived, Thurmond was saying, 'I do believe you're prettier than your mama. Yes, you are, and if I was seventy years younger, I'd court you!' "

Thurmond represented South Carolina in the Senate for 48 years, a senatorial tenure surpassed only by the late Sens. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii). Thurmond died in 2003 at the age of 100, about six months after retiring from the Senate.

“I love all of you, and especially your wives,” Thurmond said during his farewell speech on the Senate floor.