“I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as president, I must put the interest of America first.”
That was President Richard Nixon announcing his resignation, 40 years ago on August 8, 1974.
We’ve left the serious historical look-back in the hands of our colleagues around msnbc, so we’re going to try to keep it light with today’s “5 Things” about our 37th president…
1. A look at his names: “Tricky Dick,” for instance–he earned that one running for California Senate in 1950. Then there’s “Milhous,” his middle name which was taken from his mother’s maiden name; and, of course, “Richard,” after King Richard I, better known as Richard the Lionheart.
2. Nixon was quite musical, and played five instruments: piano, saxophone, clarinet, accordion and violin. After leaving the White House, he also gave some thought to rap music. On an audio tape at the Nixon Library, the former president can be heard saying, ”I have often thought that if there had been a good rap group around in those days, I might have chosen a career in music instead of politics.”
paid a visit to the White House after writing a letter promising to help Nixon fight hippies and communists, and during the meeting he also promised to fight the Beatles.
3. It wasn’t just instruments Nixon surrounded himself with; he kept company with some famous faces of the music industry as well: On December 21, 1970, Elvis Presley
4. Nixon loved sports (though he wasn’t the most athletic person…) He was a member of the Whittier College football team, and befriended Washington Redskins head coach George Allen, who even named a play after him during the 1971 playoffs–which, like the Watergate break-in, turned out to be a disaster…
5. It all comes back to–where else?–Miami. Nixon’s “Florida White House” in Key Biscayne became his retreat after his resignation. But don’t come to Florida looking for it anytime soon! It was torn down in 2004.