Gerald Ford was a strange anomaly in our nation’s history, as he was both Vice President and President — though NOT ELECTED. Ford was appointed in 1973 by President Richard Nixon to assume the vice presidency when it became vacant upon the resignation of Spiro Agnew, who was forced to resign due to corruption charges. Ford was confirmed by the House and the Senate, and in 1974, when President Nixon resigned, he assumed the Presidency.
Ford had the unfortunate task of replacing two disgraced men. Not only that, but there were many people who refused to accept the legitimacy of his candidacy, since he was not elected by the people. Early news stories accused Ford of “playing President,” “acting Presidential,” “assuming a Presidential posture” or “trying to look Presidential.” To put an end to all the Nixon nonsense, one of Ford’s first actions was to pardon the former President. Though controversial, it was a necessary move to give Ford a chance to flourish.
There are many colorful stories about Ford that show his character. One of my favorite anecdotes is the story about Ford’s vacation in Vail, Colorado. One night while eating dinner with his family, one of Ford’s dogs soiled on the floor, causing a red-jacketed White House steward to promptly rush over with a cleaning rag. “No man,” Ford stopped him, “should have to clean up after another man’s dog.” This gesture was typical of Ford — unpretentious, easygoing, and good-natured. While he wanted to be taken seriously as President, he was also one of the people and garnered nicknames like “Mr. Nice Guy” and “the Boy Scout in the White House.”