“When the President does it, that means it’s not illegal.”
- Ex-President Richard Nixon,
during interview with David Frost, 1977
“I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow. Vice President Ford will be sworn in as President at that hour in this office.”
- President Richard Nixon, August 8, 1974
“. . . the tranquility to which this nation has been restored by the events of recent weeks could be irreparably lost by the prospects of bringing to trial a former President of the United States. The prospects of such trial will cause prolonged and divisive debate over the propriety of exposing to further punishment and degradation a man who has already paid the unprecedented penalty of relinquishing the highest elective office of the United States.
Now, THEREFORE, I, GERALD R. FORD, President of the United States . . do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.”
- Part of the text of the pardon of Richard Nixon
by President Ford, September 8, 1974
"I was wrong in not acting more decisively and more forthrightly in dealing with Watergate, particularly when it reached the stage of judicial proceedings and grew from a political scandal into a national tragedy. No words can describe the depth of my regret and pain at the anguish my mistakes over Watergate have caused the nation and the presidency, a nation I so deeply love, and an institution I so greatly respect. "
- Statement released by Richard Nixon
September 8, 1974 as a condition of being pardoned
“Ford, who believes strongly in Heaven and Hell, has told more than one of his celebrity golf partners that ‘I know I will go to hell, because I pardoned Richard Nixon.’ "
- Hunter S Thompson, obituary of Richard Nixon,
originally published in Rolling Stone on June 16, 1994
By the Way:
Historians believe that the controversy over Ford’s pardon of Nixon was one of the major reasons that Ford lost the election in 1976, and Ford agreed with that observation. Ford's approval rating dropped from 71% to 50% following the pardon.