The conservative Republican Senator from New York, Senator James Buckley, called on President Richard Nixon to resign on Tuesday (19 March) when he held a news conference in the Senate Caucus room.
The conservative Republican Senator from New York, Senator James Buckley, called on President Richard Nixon to resign on Tuesday (19 March) when he held a news conference in the Senate Caucus room. He said President Nixon should resign to end the "crisis of the regime" that was doing "irrevocable damage to our entire system of government".
Senator Buckley said that resignation would be "an extraordinary act of statesmanship and courage" and it was the only thing that could pull the country out of the "watergate swamp".
There was no immediate White House comment on Mr. Buckley's statement, but a Senate Republican whip, Mr. Robert Griffin of Michigan, said there was bound to be "a profound impact" from this first breach in the Conservative line of defence of the President. Previously, the only Republican senator to call on Mr. Nixon to resign was Senator Edward Brooke of Massachusetts, who is regarded as a liberal.
Later the same day, President Nixon held a question-and-answer session at the annual convention of the National Association of Broadcasters in Houston, Texas. He was asked about Senator Buckley's statement, and whether it would make him reassess his position. He replied that it would not make him reconsider his decision not to resign.
The President also hinted that he would reject any subpoena issued by the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee for more White House tapes and documents dealing with his handling of the Watergate bugging scandal. Asked what his response would be to such a subpoena, he merely pointed out that he had already provided the Committee with many tapes and documents.