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Portraits: Gerald R Ford   Leave a comment

President Ford, first official photo

Gerald R Ford (1913 – 2006)

The 38th President of the United States, 1974 – 1977

AKA: Leslie Lynch King, Jr (his birth name), Jerry, Mr. Nice Guy

From: Nebraska, Illinois, Michigan

College: University of Michigan (class of 1935), Yale Law School (class of 1941)

Betty Ford

Ford’s marriage to Betty was delayed until after his first election to the House, as he was not sure how the voters would feel about his marrying a divorced ex-dancer.

Married to: Elizabeth Bloomer Warren

Children: Michael Gerard, John Gardner, Steven Meigs, Susan Elizabeth

Party: Republican

Previous Jobs: waiter, dishwasher, boxing & football coach, lawyer, US Navy (Lieutenant Commander), US Representative, Vice President

In His Words:

Eagle Scout Gerald Ford, on Right

Eagle Scout Gerald Ford, on Right

“I believe in friendly compromise. I said over in the Senate hearings that truth is the glue that holds government together. Compromise is the oil that makes governments go.”

“If you have not chosen me by secret ballot, neither have I gained office by any secret promises… I have not subscribed to any partisan platform. I am indebted to no man, and only to one woman — my dear wife — as I begin this very difficult job.”

“All my children have spoken for themselves since they first learned to speak, and not always with my advance approval, and I expect that to continue in the future.”

“I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your president by your ballots, and so I ask you to confirm me as your president with your prayers.”

“It is believed that a trial of Richard Nixon, if it became necessary, could not fairly begin until a year or more has elapsed. In the meantime, 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, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, have granted and by these presents 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.”

Kinstler painted Ford ten times.  "He wanted me to keep trying," he said.

Kinstler painted Ford ten times. “He wanted me to keep trying,” he said.

“The three-martini lunch is the epitome of American efficiency. Where else can you get an earful, a bellyful and a snootful at the same time?”

“I gave a speech in Omaha. After the speech I went to a reception elsewhere in town. A sweet old lady came up to me, put her gloved hand in mine, and said, ‘I hear you spoke here tonight.’ ‘Oh, it was nothing,’ I replied modestly. ‘Yes,’ the little old lady nodded, ‘that’s what I heard.'”

Not true: On September 8, 1974, Ford gave President Nixon a full pardon for any crimes he committed against the United States while President.  This was extremely controversial.  Critics claimed the pardon must have been some sort of corrupt bargain that had been struck between the two men before Ford was nominated as Vice President. All parties denied that there had been such a deal.  The New York Times called it “a profoundly unwise, divisive and unjust act.”

Ford testified before Congress about the pardon; he was the first sitting President to do so since Abraham Lincoln.

In 2001, Senator Ted Kennedy said that he had opposed the pardon at the time, but in time he had come to the belief that history had proved that Ford had made the correct decision.

True: Ford is the only President who also earned the rank of Eagle Scout.

A star football player at the University of Michigan, Ford helped lead the team to two undefeated seasons and national championships.  Ford became the only future President to tackle a future Heisman Trophy winner in 1934 when he tackled Jay Berwanger, who won the award in 1935.

President Johnson appointed Ford to the Warren Commission, who investigated the assassination of President Kennedy. He was an outspoken proponent of the single-assassin theory.

Ford was the first Vice President confirmed to office under the procedures outlined in the 25th Amendment.  After Agnew’s resignation, Nixon had sought advice from senior Congressional leaders about whom he should choose as a replacement.  House Speaker Carl Albert said, “We gave Nixon no choice but Ford.”

The Official Portrait: Among Everett Raymond Kinstler’s more than 1200 portraits are such well-known personalities as Tony Bennett, Carol Burnett, James Cagney, Betty Ford, Gene Hackman, Katharine Hepburn, Lady Bird Johnson, Paul Newman, Peter O’Toole, Gregory Peck, and John Wayne. Others include authors Arthur Miller, Ayn Rand, Tennessee Williams, and Tom Wolfe; Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Harry Blackmun; business and government leaders such as John D. Rockefeller lll, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, 6 U.S. Governors, four US Secretaries of State, and the presidents of universities and colleges including Brown, Harvard, Oklahoma, Princeton, Smith, Wellesley, Williams, and Yale.

Kinstler has painted more than 50 cabinet officers, more than any artist in the country’s history. Seven Presidents — Richard Nixon, Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush — have posed for him. His portraits of Ford and Reagan are the official White House portraits.

Gerald Ford, Presidential Portrait

Gerald R Ford Signature

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