On this day in 1968, Richard Nixon receives the Republican Party nomination for the presidency. In November, of course, he goes on to win the election.
Ironically, also on August 8th, in 1974, President Nixon announces his resignation “effective at noon tomorrow.”
Facing impeachment “because of the Watergate matter” he said he wanted to “put the interest of America first.”
As a result, Vice President Gerald Ford is sworn in as President shortly thereafter.
Richard Nixon was the first American president to resign. In his televised, evening address to the American people he quoted Theodore Roosevelt as he recounted his decades in public service during what he rightly deemed “the turbulent history of [that] era”:
“Sometimes I have succeeded and sometimes I have failed, but always I have taken heart from what Theodore Roosevelt once said about the man in the arena, “whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again because there is not effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deed, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumphs of high achievements and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
He closed his address:
“To have served in this office is to have felt a very personal sense of kinship with each and every American. In leaving it, I do so with this prayer: May God’s grace be with you in all the days ahead.”
“Justice Without Mercy”
President Ford pardoned Nixon, and in doing so, reminded us: “we are a nation under God, so I am sworn to uphold our laws with the help of God. And I have sought such guidance and searched my own conscience with special diligence to determine the right thing for me to do with respect to my predecessor in this place, Richard Nixon, and his loyal wife and family.
Theirs is an American tragedy in which we all have played a part. It could go on and on and on, or someone must write the end to it. I have concluded that only I can do that, and if I can, I must.”
“I do believe, with all my heart and mind and spirit, that I, not as President but as a humble servant of God, will receive justice without mercy if I fail to show mercy.”