On June 17, 1972, five men were caught breaking into the Democratic Party Headquarters in the Watergate building in Washington, D.C.
A little more than two years later, this ensuing cover-up forces President Richard Nixon to resign.
“His big challenge was that, at his core, he was corrupt. He was willing to break the law, to violate the Constitution to achieve his own goal,” said Joe Morris, PhD, Mercyhurst University Political Analyst.
Watergate unfolded, in the beginning, mostly unnoticed by the country. That changed as stories by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein implicated the White House.
“When I think about Watergate and what is going on these days with the Congressional hearings, I’m reminded of how the freedom of the press and how important transparency is in governance,” said Tom Ridge, Former U.S. Rep., Governor, and DHS Secretary.
In the summer of 1973, nationally televised hearings showed the public the extent of Richard Nixon’s involvement at Watergate.
The evidence was so obvious that even Nixon’s supporters from his own party told him it was over.
As the country again watches hearings on the alleged actions of a President. Some ask how would Watergate play out today?
In the lasting legacy of that scandal, Joe Morris sees a lasting lesson.
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“Even when people we agree with entirely have done something wrong, we have to be willing to stand up and say something,” Morris said.
Richard Nixon was and, of course, remains the only President to resign.