Nearly two-hundred former Nixon White House and Administration officials gathered Monday evening in Washington D.C. for the inaugural meeting of the Richard Nixon Alumni Association. Special guests included RN’s daughter and son-in-law, Julie and David Eisenhower, and two-time Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his wife Joyce.
Rumsfeld served as Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, Counselor, and Ambassador to NATO under President Nixon. He discussed the special forces operation that led to the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden and what it means for the long war against global terrorism.
“The key was intelligence,” said Secretary Rumsfeld, crediting President George W. Bush for changing the way American forces combated the terror group. “The goal was to protect America,” and “put pressure on terrorists all over the world”… “he put in place a set of very bold structures that served this country well.”
Secretary Rumsfeld likened the bold change in strategy to President Nixon’s decision to create an all-volunteer force.
“It wasn’t popular,” he recalled,” but Richard Nixon moved it forward.” Secretary Rumsfeld continued on to say that the U.S. military represents the very best in the world today because its professionals are motivated and dedicated to serving America.
The new Richard Nixon Alumni Association brings together the February Group, White House Policy Planning Staff, as well as other Nixon alumni dedicated to the legacy of America’s 37th President.
In their remarks, Julie and David Eisenhower, spoke proudly of this vision, as well as the accomplishments of those who served in the Administration, especially as they worked to solve the nation’s problems in the midst of inherited social unrest and political division.
As a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, Mr. Eisenhower recently advised a graduate student on a prize winning thesis on presidential leadership which cites interviews with two prominent Nixon Administration officials, Ray Price and Pat Buchanan.
“Reflecting on Republican accomplishments over the past fifty years, Pat Buchanan said ‘Nixon got it going’ for what he did between 1968 and 1972,” Mr. Eisenhower told the gathering. “What an adventure, what a great Presidency.”
Photo: Joyce and Secretary Rumsfeld (left) with Julie and David Eisenhower at the inaugural gathering Richard Nixon Alumni Association.