On this day, 44 years ago, President Gerald Ford pardoned former President Richard Nixon, immediately undermining his Presidency, and insuring his defeat in a close race with Jimmy Carter for a full term in the Presidency in the election of 1976.
Ford was appointed Vice President under the terms of the 25th Amendment in October 1973, and confirmed and sworn in two months later, after Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned due to his own scandalous behavior.
Gerald Ford had nothing to do with the Watergate scandal, but by pardoning Nixon, while others involved in the scandal went to prison, he became highly controversial, and was attacked and vilified by many.
A quarter century later, however, Ford’s reputation revived, when a major critic, Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, arranged for an award to be given to the former President, the John F. Kennedy library “Profile in Courage Award”.
Ford looks much better in history now, and in many ways, is the model of what an old style Republican President should be like, in the age of Donald Trump.
But this occasion of the pardoning of Richard Nixon brings to mind the idea that at some point, Donald Trump might be pardoned for his crimes, and the answer should be absolutely not, as Trump has gone way beyond Richard Nixon in his crimes, and will be shown to have committed treason, which no one has ever said Nixon did.
IF Vice President Mike Pence overcomes suspicions of his own collaboration and involvement in this massive scandal we are dealing with now, the worst thing he could do is pardon Donald Trump.
Unfortunately, there is no legal way to prevent such an action, but if it occurs, there will be a firestorm much worse than Ford experienced in 1974, and it would insure that Mike Pence would have no chance to be elected for a full term.
It would also further cement the demise of the Republican Party reputation, and likely, the future of the party under that name, and it could lead to the destruction of that party apparatus, and its replacement by a new mainstream conservative oriented political party.