On this Day — US President Richard Nixon : “I am Not a Crook” (November 17 1973) [2020]

“And in all of my years of public life, I have never obstructed justice. And I think, too, that I could say that in my years of public life, that I welcome this kind of examination, because people have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I am not a crook. I have earned everything I have got.”

US President Richard Nixon  (November 17 1973)

“I answered them (Questions from special counsel Robert Mueller) very easily.” — US President Donald Trump (November 17 2018)

November 17 2020 — On this day, US President Richard Nixon famously stated that “people have got to know whether or not their president is a crook.” The rest is History. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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On November 17 1973, President Richard Nixon was knee-deep in the Watergate controversy when he arrived at Disney’s Contemporary Resort to give his now infamous “I am not a crook” speech.

In an attempt to quell the outrage surrounding his presidency’s involvement with the scandal, Nixon spoke before the Associated Press Managing Editors annual conference, and it was actually during a Q&A portion of the speech where he blurted out the words that would ultimately define his legacy.

“I made my mistakes, but in all of my years of public life, I have never profited, never profited from public service — I earned every cent.

And in all of my years of public life, I have never obstructed justice.

And I think, too, that I could say that in my years of public life, that I welcome this kind of examination, because people have got to know whether or not their president is a crook.

Well, I am not a crook. I have earned everything I have got.”

The next day, in the Nov. 18 edition of the New York Times, the paper concluded that the president did a nice job acquitting himself:

“The president seemed composed and on top of the subject throughout the session, faltering perceptibly only during the discussion of his taxes.

In contrast with some of his recent appearances he did not berate his critics or his political enemies.”

Any resemblance to current events may not be purely coincidental…

“When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”

Three years after leaving office, Mr. Nixon defended his actions to the British television personality David Frost: “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”

A recent New York Times article about political sex scandals and technology highlighted the sense of invincibility some politicians seem to share: “Part of that has to do with politics, which self-selects for people with risk-taking behavior and a high degree of self-regard.”

Mr. Nixon said, “People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook.” Do you agree?

Would you rather have a leader who is honest but cannot affect change, or one who uses dishonest methods to achieve positive results?

Do you think politicians are more prone than others to behave unethically because they view themselves as above the law, or do you think that as public figures, they just receive more attention when their misdeeds come to light? Why?

Do you think that violations on the scale of the Nixon administration’s misconduct and subsequent cover-up could take place today? Why or why not?

Richard Nixon – “I’m not a crook”

REFERENCES

Nov. 17, 1973 | Nixon Declares ‘I Am Not a Crook’ — New York Times

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On this Day — Nixon : “I am Not a Crook” (November 17 1973)

On this Day — Nixon : “I am Not a Crook” (November 17 1973) [2019]

On this Day — US President Richard Nixon : “I am Not a Crook” (November 17 1973) [2020]

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