President Richard M. Nixon: Retirement and Life After Presidency

About the retirement and life after presidency for President of the United States Richard M. Nixon.


After a tear-soaked farewell to his staff in the East Room of the White House ("Only if you've been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain."), Nixon boarded an army helicopter and raised his arms one last time in his familiar V-for-victory gesture. Nixon was airborne somewhere above the middle of the country when Gerald Ford officially took the oath of office as Nixon's successor. The former President did not listen to the proceedings. He and Pat rode in silence-and in separate compartments-on their way "home" to San Clemente.

In the early weeks of his retirement, Nixon's health began to deteriorate-which, of course, made it impossible for him to honor any of the court subpoenas that required his testimony. Meanwhile, Nixon planned to write his memoirs-for which he was to receive an advance estimated at $2 to $3 million. As incredible as it may seem, an aide disclosed that in this project, Nixon would follow the format established in Plain Speaking, a best-selling book about Harry Truman.

Just one month after Nixon's resignation, his handpicked successor, Gerald Ford, granted the former President a "full, complete, and absolute pardon" for any crimes he had committed-thereby shielding Nixon from prosecution. In accepting the pardon, Nixon issued a statement that touched a new note of humility: "I was wrong in not acting more decisively and more forthrightly in dealing with Watergate....I know that many fairminded people believe that my motivation and actions in the Watergate affair were intentionally self-serving and illegal."

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