The Unelected President:

  • 2014

The Unelected President:

How Nixon Chose Ford and Ford's Transition to the Presidency
Author:
George Pallas
Abstract:

In the fall of 1973, Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned. The Twenty-Fifth Amendment gave Nixon the power to nominate a replacement, and Nixon submitted the name of Rep. Gerald R. Ford. When Watergate forced Nixon to resign eight months later, Ford became the first president to take office without first having won election as either president or vice president.

Why did Nixon select Ford? This paper examines several factors that weighed on Nixon's decision. It also explores why Ford pardoned Nixon. While evidence suggests that White House chief of staff Alexander Haig attempted to trade Nixon's resignation in 1974 for a pardon, Ford always vehemently denied that he agreed to any deal and maintained that he decided to issue the pardon solely because he felt it was best for the country. In the forty years since, no evidence has been uncovered to dispute him.