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Old 10-01-2019, 05:52 AM
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What did Nixon do in his last 15 hours in office?


On August 8, 1974 at 9:01 PM Eastern Time, Richard Nixon delivered a speech announcing his resignation, which was to take effect the following day at noon.

What did Nixon do between this announcement and actually leaving office on August 9? In particular, did he carry out any official acts? I know that a lot of presidents choose to spend their last day in office granting mass pardons and commutations; did Nixon do anything like that? Did he sign or veto any bills from Congress, classify or declassify any documents, fire or appoint anyone to public office, make any business calls to national or foreign leaders, or do any other "presidential" things? If not, what was the point of waiting 15 hours after the speech to resign, rather than resigning immediately?
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Old 10-01-2019, 06:49 AM
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Here's a fairly detailed account from the History Channel:

https://www.history.com/news/the-las...y-40-years-ago

Basically he made a lot of phone calls, wrote his resignation letter, and worried a lot.
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Old 10-01-2019, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by psychonaut View Post
If not, what was the point of waiting 15 hours after the speech to resign, rather than resigning immediately?
Being able to do the handover in a better organized manner, especially considering this had not been done before.
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Old 10-01-2019, 09:19 AM
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Being able to do the handover in a better organized manner, especially considering this had not been done before.
I guess you must be referring to the phone calls, since apart from signing a terse pre-written resignation letter, DCnDC's article doesn't mention him doing anything else that could possibly be related to his public duties. Is it known who he called and what handover-related business was discussed?

Last edited by psychonaut; 10-01-2019 at 09:20 AM.
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Old 10-01-2019, 11:15 AM
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Probably to have Ford make a public swearing-in at a fixed time, and at the time that the presidential inauguration swearing-in normally occurs, rather than doing do at night. As well as letting Nixon leave town before Ford became president.

The handover involved two people, remember. This is was the better route for Ford.
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Old 10-01-2019, 11:25 AM
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Drinking everything he could pour into his lie hole, if I understand his habits correctly.
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Old 10-01-2019, 11:41 AM
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Probably to have Ford make a public swearing-in at a fixed time, and at the time that the presidential inauguration swearing-in normally occurs, rather than doing do at night.
Ford's inauguration was in the East Room, with his family and all top officials present, and with TV cameras ready for it and for his first speech to the nation. That was on short notice, but still with enough to make it a dignified, planned affair.

Plus, the Nixons had to pack.
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Old 10-01-2019, 11:41 AM
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Didn't he ask Kissinger to get on his knees and pray with him?
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Old 10-01-2019, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
Probably to have Ford make a public swearing-in at a fixed time, and at the time that the presidential inauguration swearing-in normally occurs, rather than doing do at night. As well as letting Nixon leave town before Ford became president.
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Ford's inauguration was in the East Room, with his family and all top officials present, and with TV cameras ready for it and for his first speech to the nation. That was on short notice, but still with enough to make it a dignified, planned affair
Oh, good points.
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Old 10-01-2019, 04:59 PM
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Didn't he ask Kissinger to get on his knees and pray with him?
I thought that was a few days prior, but articles such as this one says it was that last evening in the WH.

Note, clearly the source is Kissinger. It was used in Woodstein's The Final Days. Some Nixon apologists say Nixon would have never done such a thing. But Nixon was in a really bad mental state then. Neither he nor Kissinger denied it.

Last edited by ftg; 10-01-2019 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 10-01-2019, 06:13 PM
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IIRC, Nixon spent a chunk of the morning formally saying goodbye to the White House staff. That's something Presidents normally do on the last morning of their term, and I guess Nixon figured he wouldn't break that tradition.
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Old 10-02-2019, 08:03 PM
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By that time, I believe Kissinger and Haig had already given very very very strict instructions to those who might receive a "Launch" order from POTUS.
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Old 10-03-2019, 01:49 AM
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By that time, I believe Kissinger and Haig had already given very very very strict instructions to those who might receive a "Launch" order from POTUS.
The instruction was, supposedly, given James Schlesinger, the Secretary of Defense. However this story isn't very credible and Schlesinger himself was something of a nut.
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Old 10-05-2019, 11:36 PM
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The instruction was, supposedly, given James Schlesinger, the Secretary of Defense. However this story isn't very credible and Schlesinger himself was something of a nut.
The Washington Post reported it a few years later as having been true, and I'd say Schlesinger had a pretty impressive career in Federal service, as recently as 2008, for having been "something of a nut."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_R._Schlesinger
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