Robert Byrd

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Robert Byrd (born 1917) is a Democratic Senator from West Virginia. He is currently the oldest and longest-serving member of Congress, President pro tempore of the US Senate, and is the longest-serving Senator in history, having been first elected in 1959.

During the 1940s, he was involved in the Ku Klux Klan where he reached the rank of Exalted Cyclops, the leader of the local chapter of the organization.[1] He repeatedly expressed his desire for the Klan's to expand to its previous size and power, once remarking in a letter that "The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia" and "in every state in the nation." [2] His involvement was as short-lived as it was impassioned, however, and by the 1950s, he was no longer involved with the organization.

He is third in line to the Presidency behind Vice President Dick Cheney and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.


  1. Pianin, Eric. A Senator's Shame: Byrd, in His New Book, Again Confronts Early Ties to KKK. Washington Post, 2005-06-19, pp. A01
  2. King, Colbert I. Sen. Byrd: The view from Darrell's barbershop, Washington Post, March 2, 2002