September 14, 1974. Even though the actual Pardon of Richard Nixon by Gerald Ford came on the 8th of September, the reactions and reverberations to the full and complete Pardon ran the gamut and were still reverberating around Washington and indeed, the world at the end of this week.
A little background on this issue of this Pardon via Wikipedia, for those of you who missed it the first time around:
Following the release of the smoking gun tape on August 5, 1974, Nixon’s position had become untenable. In his autobiography A Time to Heal, Ford wrote about a meeting he had with White House Chief of Staff Alexander Haig before Nixon’s resignation. Haig was explaining what he and Nixon’s staff thought were Nixon’s only options. He could try to ride out the impeachment and fight against conviction in the Senate all the way, or he could resign. His options for resigning were to delay his resignation until further along in the impeachment process, to try and settle for a censure vote in Congress, or to pardon himself and then resign. Haig told Ford that some of Nixon’s staff suggested that Nixon could agree to resign in return for an agreement that Ford would pardon him.
Reactions to the Pardon ran the gamut from forgiveness to fury. Those, including members of both parties on Capitol Hill, decried the action as a slap in the face of justice, arguing Nixon was being let off the hook for some grievous crimes. Others, such as those co-conspirators,convicted and sitting in jail, demanded release because the one they were working for, who ordered the criminal actions was now no longer accountable and that they shouldn’t have to suffer.
It was a contentious deed all around – it may have served as the main ingredient to sealing Ford’s loss in the general election of 1976.
There was other news for this momentous week, but this was what everyone was talking about, via CBS Radio’s Washington Week In Review for the week ending September 14, 1974.