Jerald F. terHorst, Ford's press secretary, dies
Jerald F. terHorst, 87, who resigned as White House press secretary over President Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon, died yesterday.
Just a year ago, I talked to him upon his wife's death and was reminded that this journalist, who was press secretary for only 30 days, was one of the few public figures in Washington ever to resign on principle. When he came home with the news that Ford planned to pardon Nixon, his wife asked what he was going to do.
"I told her I was going to resign. . . . She said, 'Sounds to me like you're on the right track,' " he told me.
His letter of resignation is considered a classic.""As your spokesman, I do not know how I could credibly defend that decision in the absence of a like decision to grant absolute pardon to the young men who evaded Vietnam military service as a matter of conscience and the absence of pardons for former aides and associates of Mr. Nixon who have been charged with crimes -- and imprisoned -- stemming from the same Watergate situation," he wrote. "These are also men whose reputations and families have been grievously injured. Try as I can, it is impossible to conclude that the former President is more deserving of mercy than persons of lesser station in life whose offences have had far less effect on our national wellbeing."
He returned to the Detroit News where he had previously worked, then became the spokesman for the Ford Motor Co. Here's a photo before the White House Press Room dedication for James Brady, Reagan's former Press Secretary. From left: Pierre Salinger (Kennedy), Jerald terHorst (Ford), Larry Speakes (Reagan) ,and Mike McCurrry (Clinton).
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