tv QA with Pat Buchanan CSPAN July 2, 2017 8:00pm-9:01pm EDT
minister theresa may taking questions. later, president trump attends and independence day event in washington honoring veterans. ♪ >> this week on q&a, patrick beginning, he served as a speechwriter and advisor to president nixon and joins us to discuss his book, nixon's white house wars. pat buchanan, in the acknowledgment of your new book on your time with richard nixon, you write, this memoir and the history of the nixon presidency is actually the last to be who servedonfidant
in the white house from his first two final day over four decades ago. how many others are left? mr. buchanan: i'm sure it there are some, like a joint chief and others, who have not written memoirs yet, but i'm not sure they are going to. memoir, thisritten is probably the last of someone who was right there and it knew it from the beginning. brian: what did you put in this book that you never talked about before? mr. buchanan: the origins of the agnew speech, the memos on that. there were a number of notes in my files of that i dug out. there is a description of how i almost defected on the china trip, i was so unhappy with it. it,e is also the end of where you put in that quote by john osborne, he said he had
seen shelley and me on inauguration day in 19 69 and then he saw how it all ended, he was an old liberal curmudgeon and it breaks your heart. all of this is fresh and new. most of the memorandum had never been published. what that is about is, what it was like as a young conservative in the next and white house trying to do battle for your police and the opposition -- battle for your police and -- battle for your beliefs and the opposition you faced. agnew.you mentioned we have a clip here. what led up to it? mr. buchanan: toward the end of his first year, the massive
demonstrations with the mobilizations were being held on monument grounds and it was quite clear time and newsweek were saying richard nixon's presidency is in danger of being woken. wrote that,lumnist the breaking of a president. i wrote the president a memo saying, you have to stand up. when we have to keep those kids over there fighting and dying in bit not. nixon gave his famous great silent majority speech in 1969, smashing triumph. 70% of the country backed him and stood within, but that night after the speech finished, the networks trashed it. most americans got their news from the world from these three networks and nixon was angry and haldeman told me to write letters and telegrams.
time to takewas a on the network directly at a high level. speech by do it is a the vice president of the united states, which i would write. he came back with a memo that photo is in the book, where he has seen, go ahead. that meet the president of the united states has seen your memo, go ahead and start writing your speech. so for a few days i was in touch with the vice president and i went through three drafts, not a great number, and i was called over to the oval office and there sat the president with his glasses on, which he never wore, coat and tie, sitting there at my phrases.iting , this will tear the scab off those bastards. and i broke out laughing and he
broke out laughing. agnew went out to deliver that speech in des moines and i got worked, abc was going to go live with it. and i was nervous so i went to the university club and they called me from the pool and said, pat, nbc and cbs are going live with it. i said this is it are going to be a great success or a career-and or. ender. career- the whole country stood with us in the sentiment about the networks and about television. that night, i drove out to andrews air force base at about 3:00 a.m. and got the board air force two. agnew invited me down to cape
canaveral. he comes on the plane late and says, gangbusters. it was just a phenomenal moment. agnew's attacks on the network in des moines. which i wrote with the vice president. that i think was the real making of the president. not 19 to create so much, but the real making of the president if you can believe it, at the end of that year, richard nixon was at 60% approval and 19% disapproval. astonishing. here was a fella who, seven years before, was the biggest loser in american college -- american politics. brian: let's see a little bit of that speech in des moines. >> every american has a right to
disagree with the president of the united states and expressed probably that discriminate. but the president of the united states has a right to communicate directly with the people who elected him. [applause] countrypeople of this have the right to make up their own minds and form their own opinions about a presidential address. without having a president's words and thoughts are derived through the prejudices of hostile critics before they can be digested. brian: i remember that happened around dinner hour or 6:00 or 7:00 at night. 7:30 atanan: around night. that's correct. what he was talking about there wasn't the fundamental point and it exists today. the president of the united states, in those days, a number of how andad custody what would be seeing of the president of the united states
and how it would be presented because they control all three networks. i was a 12 people would make this decision and if so, in effect, the direct communication between resident and the people ,- president and the people they would present it as they saw fit and what excerpts they saw fit, and we almost couldn't live with this. was constantlynt on the phone and things and calling for letters to the editors and telegrams. this is nonsense. you were seen by 50 million people, the network commenting on it was seen by 50 million people and we cannot turn this around with letters to the editor. so we elevated that issue and it exists to this day and i think that was the first strike. brian: why did they decide to carry it live? because they would never do that in those days.
mr. buchanan: we put in phrases at the end, whether what i would say is heard by the american people doesn't depend on you and doesn't depend on me. they decide what they hear and don't care. that's exactly right. as i recall, we had a quote from frank reynolds of abc, who had written this horrible thing during the campaign of 1968, saying nixon is retaining his with a to hit his people meat ax. we had clothes and things like that, which were a challenge in the defiance of them and then in effect, goaded them into putting it out there. they put it on the air because they thought agnew was being trashed as an individual buddhist who had no sensitivity and did not understand the first amendment. they thought the public would say, my goodness, these nixon
people want to censor the news and restrict the first amendment. but the american people loved it. it was the making of vice president agnew, who for that, in 1968 was regarded the press as some think of a buffoon. brian: you write a lot about the book, what impact did it have on you when you found out he was taking cash money in envelopes? mr. buchanan: he had a press there wereand reports and rumors he was being investigated like george bell, a mine, a u.s. attorney. i went up and watched agnew make a defined statement and ron mine, a u.s. attorney. zigler seemed to undercut agnew. i said, why are we not standing by the vice president? he said, come on over. i went into his office, the
chief of staff corner office that haldeman had and he said, we are taking in envelopes from the basement. i was shattered by this. agnew was a good friend of mine. we were buddies. he had real courage. he was just a terrific fella. he had a lot of fun. you can play tricks on the guy and he enjoyed it. i was really agonized and disappointed with that. i remember writing him a note. brian: did you ever talk to him after that? mr. buchanan: i did not talk to him about what happened and why, to, whenevered agnew came to town, he would call a number of his close friends -- bryce harlow would be there and the schulz from his
shop, everybody would have a couple drinks and talk about the great days. he was fun to travel with. brian: there are many things you touch on. before i do that, i what to ask you that i have never heard you do. i want to talk about your brothers and sisters. you have eight of them. ,ou mentioned a couple, henry and we know they buchanan, how many of them are still alive and what do they fit in the family and what do they do? mr. buchanan: my two oldest others, bill died when i was 45, my brother hank died a few years ago. i am the oldest now of nine. and my brother who served in has six kids, he's a dentist and living out in maryland, montgomery county. love him in age is, my sister
kathleen, who worked for bill kristol for a while and then worked in a vice presidents shop, vice president quayle, and she's got three kids now and has lost a kid. jack,her is my brother john edward decanted, who coaches basketball and is a business executive in kensington. brian: maryland, right out here. mr. buchanan: maryland. generalre is bae, macarthur who ran my campaign. she was high on romney and she became a mormon. 2012 andh on romney in when that was over, she was disillusioned and got out of politics. she is in real estate and doing well. she lives out in oakton, a little beyond tysons corner. then there is my brother brian who went down to bedford when he
got out of medical school. he was a doctor in bedford. just down near roanoke, lynchburg, sort of up in the hills. it's got that famous role or two memorial where all those guys from bedford come to shore on omaha beach were wiped out. then there is my brother tom, a managing partner at winston strong. he lives on gerald ford drive, near admissible high school where john mccain went to high school. he's getting along well. that's where they are and what they are doing. but we all grew up in washington dc. my mother used to work as a nurse at providence hospital. born and raised in the blessed sacrament paris -- blessed segment parish -- blesses s acrament parish. the canon family field is the
name of the football field. once georgetown on the five-year plan of it -- five-year plan. when i got aboard somebody with agnew, got aboard after me and i looked over at it was the head of loyola college or university at the time and it was instant recognition. he had expelled me from georgetown university after an altercation with the police when i was a senior in october 1959. this was done up by jack when i was inuty the white house writing speeches about how these kids, we need to crack down on student disorders. he calls me up and says, pat, i want to read you something here. you were arrested and this is what you are charged with. what do you have to say for yourself for fighting with the police?
, well i was ahead on points until they brought out the sticks. [laughter] one of my better lines when you have no defense. brian: mom and dad, what were they like? mr. buchanan: my father was an autocrat, very autocratic. as i mentioned from the beginning and an earlier book, his three political heroes were mccarthy, general macarthur, and francisco franco. in spain, he was a very devout catholic. he went to gonzaga before i did. he came out of a broken family, his father had left him, the jesuits came by and got him when he graduated the holy trinity. they brought him down to conduct gonzaga and he raises nine kids.
these towns use all that trouble was visiting, i used to go up there after the war. kids ands one of eight all four of my younger brothers fought in the vietnam operations. my cousins were telling my nothing out here except trump science. gns.rump si and that's how he won the election in pennsylvania. there at thep steel mill in west virginia. that's where he won the election. brian: there's a quote from richard nixon in your book that says, i have never seen an extremist like you come up with a sense of humor. something like that. where did he say that? mr. buchanan: i challenge george , 10 weeks before the
new hampshire primary in 1972 and my sister and i went up to challenge the president of the united states in the new after primary. when i got up there, the polls 65-70%, theat cannon at 16%, and even duke at 6% in the polls. we ran a tough campaign against constantly,of their and he closed the gaps at 50 or some odd points at 15 points. 5137 or something like that. it was a tremendous moral victory and the press played it up huge. we went to georgia and did almost as well, then we had super tuesday and there were eight areas. i got wiped out in every single one. so nixon was in new jersey and i lost 10 in a row. i called nixon in new jersey, and i said mr. president, 10 for 10, not bad, eh?
[laughter] says, buchanan, you are the only extremist i note with a sense of humor. come on up, bring shelley and bring your secret service detail. it was a pleasant visit i had with him. that was two years before he died. i calledre he died, him in new jersey and said, we have not talked. , washingtone down hotel was on this -- it's over toward georgetown. brian: washington circle, right. mr. buchanan: exactly. he would come down there and he was so other -- so alert. down., who's up, who's for the first time i met him. he was so interested his whole life and politics, personalities, issues.
he was consumed by this. january 6of it from 26 from when i met him to the forn primary, i was there 3-5 hours a day in his office. became ziglar and al haig. havehe old man needed to the talking constantly exploring this issue, what do you think? calling you back in, and it's a feature -- my wife was with the vice president when he was vice president, when nixon was vice know --t, but i don't i've noticed that was a characteristic of him. brian: you were sitting across the desk from him. you had a three-hour interview chat with him before he hired you in 1966. havel ryu -- how old were you?
mr. buchanan: i had just turned 27. brian: what was that like? mr. buchanan: it was not a heart interviewed for me because he was asking about issues and i was an editorial, six weeks out of journalism school. the editorial editor said, you can write editorials until we hire a replacement. that theying so hard kept me and move the other editorial out. we had to editorial writers at the globe democrat. so i was writing immediately on every issue local, statewide, things i was initially unaware of, for policy, domestic, everything. i was doing this for three and a half years and writing other pieces, as well.
when it nixon would ask me about various things in this three-hour meeting, i was on it. test your own exam with flying colors. he said after the three hours, i would like to hire you for one year. here is the reason. i want you to help write the column i have to write once a month, get this mail pile down, to press work, do the other things. wait outside my office. he said one year because i am going to campaign for the republicans in 1966. if we do not get back some of these massive losses from the goldwater campaign, the nomination in 1968 is not going to be worth anything. he predicted we would win 40 seats and a house and the returns came in, we won 47 in the house. 1966, and wember, were on our way to the white house. brian: when did you see him at his angriest moment for you?
and how did he react when he was angry? mr. buchanan: you know, he never yelled at me. angry, he would yell generically at the wall or sort some peoplet i get to do these things? i cannot recall him really enraged at me or maybe, i don't know why, in the book i don't have great recollections of him being enraged but i will say this. i worked for reagan and i remember reagan coming into the cabinet room and i don't know why, he looked at me and said, he exploded. he exploded when he came out of that meeting with gorbachev. aroundcame out, waiting
-- waving around. reagan had a healthy temper. dolan, we home, teri were laughing and celebrating the fact we did not get the deal that rakovic got. nixon kept it inside himself and brooded. the voice was very low, do this, do this, do that. and go after them. he let these things get to them in a way i do not think president reagan did. there is a certain healthy thing of an anger and getting it out of the system.
and that's the difference between the two. brian: during the nixon administration and watergate, they all went to prison, they testified, you testified. we have a little piece of video from your testimony. you say you had your brother sit behind you. why? mr. buchanan: i had watched all the others of their and they all had these lawyers beside them. and as soon as you have a lawyer, he's got a problem, he must have done something. i did not believe i had done anything wrong, that i did need somebody, just to be with you. so i called my brother on the day i was going to testify and i said, can you go over to watergate where i live with shelley? we will go to the white house to get breakfast and then go to the hemittee hearing room and
came up and i said, i do not need you to sit at the table with me, but i want you to sit behind me. in the book, i think i have a picture and it's got my brother behind me there and when they would take a break, he would go back in his room with me and we would come back out to the hearing, in and out. your brother there. i did not need a lawyer. brian: i'm not sure if it's your brother behind you in the videos we have, but tell us if you know who this person is. the president had conducted an administration for four years that won the support of millions of democrats. the president's stance the issues of defense and welfare and taxes and government and integration and busing were closer to what the american people wanted to those of the opponents. because of the quality and character of our candidate, if one looks back over the political history of this
country, there is only one other man other than richard nixon who has been his party's nominee for president or vice president five times. that is frequent was about. brian: in those days, you cannot put a camera in front of you. that's not your brother. mr. buchanan: no, that's not my brother. there's a picture in the book. he was right there. i could hear him laughing at times. brian: did you ever think in this process that you would go to prison? mr. buchanan: no, i had never hired a lawyer. i was called over by the special craft -- special prosecutor. it was a vindictive, hostile crowd. honest, sam did not understand politics. there were some phrases he was reading to me. one of them was ed muskie.
go down tos time to the kennels and let the dogs loose. he says, can you explain this to me? if the gary hart said next people underestimate us, we will do what humphrey did and killed them. had physical he violence in mind, but the exaggerated metaphor is a staple of american politics. but it came out very well. hours, when a half buchanan got back to the elp, it was like the field after lindbergh landed. it was a great day in a way because it boosted the morale of the whole white house staff, which was very down and the good news was, networks decided after i had testified or five hours, they are no longer carrying life
tasman. brian: here you are on your way to china. i do not think you stop in hawaii yet. you are on air force one with the president and i want to ask you eventually with your trip. watch this. >> the first part, too. the more adjusting part is the evaluation, quite fascinating. that's great footage. i don't recall ever seeing that. brian: what was in your mind as you are making the trip? i sent nixon a memo telling him i thought he
was taking a real risk with this trip and then i sent a second memo that said, i think you need to take me along. i will give you cover because conservatives look to me to represent their interests. bill russert said buchanan was the ambassador to the writer. when i was going there, the decision had been made and nixon announced it in july. now we were in february before the new hampshire primary. it is going to be an interesting trip and an important trend. by then, i was reconciled to the idea that if they elected the president, not me, i thought it was risky. we got there and initially, i was doing fine with initially, i was doing fine with it until i read the communique. i would not have in a loud to participate at all in writing the committee k. -- the communique. i think kissinger had done it. and when i saw it and rose woods
and i were appalled by it. brian: who is rose woods? pat: rose woods was the most loyal nixonite there was. she was with him from -- she came with him right after the hess case in 1948, had been with him when i was there. she was at 18 years was family to the nixons. a great lady, loyal, courageous and went through all of those -- every single one of those crises and then some with richard nixon. brian: and so you are on your way back from china. pat: on the way back from china and so, kissinger had gotten word. i thought the shanghai communication was a sellout of taiwan and frankly a shallow piece of work with concessions all through it and it embarrassed me. it almost made me ashamed. so he came back to discuss it. he said, here is -- what is your problems with the communique? so i said, "look here, chinese aren't open with your statement about revolution and what we want." and we started off with some examination of conscience i said, the japanese, they say
japan is militaristic and -- we don't defend our own ally and the part on taiwan, we basically accept their position, and so i said it's a sellout. it was so badly written, you should have had me in there. i would like to have written it. i could have -- you know, we could have stated our side. they state their side and so then he went forward and the came back and he started -- henry started ragging me. the conservatives, you and your conservative friends, they haven't supported us in the middle east, and we had -- so i started answering and then i just got up. i just put my face that far from his and yelled, bs in the vernacular and sat down. if you can't believe it, i think over there was brad scowcroft grinning away from -- [laughter] i think he enjoyed -- i don't think or know that he agreed with me at all, but i think he enjoyed the encounter. brian: why do you say you were going to resign? pat: that's why. because i felt that you know, i had grown up feeling being taught and learning that the worst disaster that -- diplomatic disaster in american history was yelta where fdr had signed over basically the freedom of those 10 countries in eastern europe to the soviet union and joe stalin to their
custody and it was a harsh show. -- a horror show. and i had always believed that it was a horrendous betrayal and i said to myself, "look, if i have been party to something that's going to do the same thing to the people of taiwan whom we have supported" taiwan, we always supported their -- our allies chiang kai-shek and the nationalist. and so i just felt ashamed and disgusted and i decided to resign and told my parents when i got home and sent word to florida, kip eskin that i was going to come down and resign and thankfully, haldeman argued against it and rose wood said, don't do it and others said, don't do it. i think the president, according to haldeman, was quite prepared; initially, he wanted to tell me not to do it, but finally, he said, "if he is going to go, he
is going to go." i remember -- and it reminded me of my friend, nick whalen who walked out at mission bay after the nixon -- after nixon's inauguration and -- nixon's nomination in miami beach in 1968 and he was a great writer and a friend of mine. he walked out of mission bay and sent a letter to the president until shelley picked up one and rose woods about resigning, and i ran to nixon and said, "this guy is such a great writer, we have got to get him back. nixon said, "if he is going to resign now, let him go." i mean, if that's the way he feels, let him go. very cold about it. "better that he go now than he go in the middle of a campaign and really have an explosion." so i think nixon had come to the conclusion that if i wanted to go that badly, maybe i can over to the campaign or somewhere else, but i should go. brian: why didn't you go? pat: you know, i decided by the weekend, i said, i have made my case to the president and to holdeman and to kissinger, to everybody in the building, those are what i believe and what i feel and i want nixon to be reelected, and so what am i going to accomplish by walking out? because i am not going to have a big, you know, press conference or anything, i am just going to slip out. and a friend of mine did.
he left the administration, bill gavin. he came to see me and he was the late bill gavin, wonderful guy, working for the usai, i think he went over to work for jim buckley after that. brian: this is from your book on page 175. "henry lost it. minutes later, sally was back in my office. 'i can't take this,' she said. 'i just watched dr. kissinger throw all the pages i gave him across the room and there was a two-star general crawling around on the floor picking them up.'" pat: that's my secretary, sally brinkerhoff, currently, sally hartwig. i just got an e-mail from her and talking about all of those days after she had read the book. what this was is after the cambodian kent state speech or cambodia speech and the huge explosion that took place. we had -- nixon sent the troops into cambodia for 60 days and 30 kilometers and he wanted a paper, a long paper presented on
what we had accomplished for that and the nsc produced a paper that have got some 6,000 words. so nixon told me and haldeman told me through nixon, he wants you to rewrite it and so -- henry as was his custom would hold off his material long enough so you couldn't rewrite it and get it in. so he held it off and it was 6,000, it was given to me in the afternoon out in san clemente and sally and i went to work on that and i rewrote this 6,000 words all night long and it was about eight in the morning that i had them all done and sent them. i said to sally, "take it on down to dr. kissinger's office." and that's what she came back and told me. he had thrown it right across the room, but the odd thing is, nixon as haldeman writes, he loved the job i had done, putting you know these items up, bullet points of all the weapons captured from the north vietnamese or casualties,
exactly how many rockets in the borders and the ammunition and really made the case -- it made the case where the documents and facts and information made it well instead of one of these long meandering things that you got out of the nsc. and nixon said that was -- i want all the papers done like this in this form after this, and he thought it was terrific. so i felt very good about it and after reading haldeman's memoirs. [laughter] brian: you have got lots of memoirs in here. there is a couple of points i am thinking, this is patrick j. buchanan's revenge. he has waited all of these years to publish all of these memoirs to say, "see, i was right back then." pat: well were you always right? i mean, i was opposed to the -- i was stunned by the china trip, but all of these things, there is a certain consistency, but you are right, i have held those for a long time in my files and everything and they really
represent what i believed in. there is a thread of consistency certainly on political strategy all the way up through -- it worked. it worked, the idea of putting the goldwater people together with nixon. the nixon is the center of the party and goodbye to rockefeller and them, and then once you get this block, go after the northern catholics and the democratic party, folks that were raised just like me and nixon raised his catholic vote from 22 percent against jack kennedy to 55 percent and he got this what we call the southern protestants they now call the evangelicals where they denounced as a southern strategy. all of these natural alliance of ours, on politics, issues -- the southern conservatives and put these four blocks together and as i write, i mean, it is going to split the country a bit, but we are going to wind up with a larger half, which we did. i mean, can you imagine? and anybody thinking in 1962 after nixon's last press conference, ten years later, he would win a 49-state landslide? and then it all -- and all came apart.
but as i said, we rolled the rock all the way up the mountain and it rolled right back down on top of us. brian: when did you first personally think there was a recording system and when did you first learn about the recording system in the oval office and on the phone? pat: i didn't think -- i don't believe i thought there was a recording system? i first learned about it when butterfield -- alexander butterfield testified that was in july of 1973. he came up and testified that there was a recording system in the oval office and i reflected on that and i knew the times that the president had called me and late at night and he had had conversations or joking about various people and he was sort of letting his hair down. and so i wrote him a memo saying, i think you ought to -- dean had testified, you are going to have to keep the dean tapes, the five tapes of conversation with dean, i didn't think they were going to be that
damaging to us and keep the tapes with the press and the foreign policy stuff, the stuff you need, you really should tape and i said, take the rest out and burn it and shut down this special prosecutors' office now before this thing grows into a monster. and i didn't know it at the time, but nixon had called in haig and fred buzhardt and entertained this idea that he should burn the tapes and they said, well, it will be obstruction of justice. first, i didn't recommend burning subpoenaed tapes. secondly, they were his property. there was executive privilege that existed. everybody knew it and if he simply got rid of them as a fait accompli and then just said in effect impeach and be damned. i think he would have moved right through it. and president nixon said in his memoirs, if he had burned the tapes as i had urged him to do that he would have survived and i think that's right.
brian: here is some video and peter jennings was a very young man at this time, anchor on abc. just a little bit back on may 9, 1970. it's the busses circling the white house that you write about in your book. let's watch this. pat: okay. (video starts) jennings: they stream through every street of washington heading south, bumper to bumper busses serve the silent sentries to guard the immediate area near the white house. the demonstrators kept coming through the morning. the intent was serious. the mood was peaceful and the day was hot. brian: why busses and how many were there and whose idea was it? pat: well, this is may 9th. this was the cambodia kent state speech where i had worked with the president on where we invaded cambodia, it was a
tremendous shock to clean out the communist sanctuaries in cambodia from which they were attacking americans in south vietnam. and there was an explosion on the campuses and there were riots and out in kent state, there was a riot in kent on saturday night. the national guard came out sunday. they burned the rotc building. on monday, there was a huge demonstration and the guard fired live ammunition and killed four students and that exploded the campuses in the country and virtually, i mean, there were hundreds and hundreds of campuses that simply shut down and this was early may and nixon was tremendously shaken by this because he had made the statement that a women -- nixon had come out of the pentagon after the day one, i think it was may 1 right after the speech. and a woman said -- it was either her son or husband, i want to thank you, mr. president for what you are doing, to keep, you know to help my husband stay alive over there. and nixon said, they are great young people over there. you should see them. they are terrific. on the other hand, there are these bums blowing up campuses. and the term bums was taken by the press for nixon to mean all the demonstrators and all the
people who had opposed the war. and then the killing of the four students at kent state and this just exploded and so the crowds came in to dc, coming in to dc and nixon had a press conference there. i mean, he had a press conference friday night and anyone out that night -- i remember the phrase, search lights on the lawn. nixon was -- it was 3 or 4 a.m., went out on the lawn with manolo, the man that worked for him even up in new york and he took him over to the lincoln memorial and there were students wandering around, here comes the president of the united states at four or five in the morning and nixon tried to start a conversation with them and some of them said he was talking football. others said, you know -- and so nixon sent around to his speech writer a memo of what he tried to communicate, what he had tried to say. but that was the worst period, i call it the gethsemane of the
nixon presidency before watergate. he was really down and really broken. i have got the memos in there from pat moynihan. i mean, to me, they were just semi-panicked from moynihan you know, saying you have got to take control of all the national guard units in the country. you are commander in chief and put u.s. army officers in charge and doing all of these things and so -- but there is no doubt about it, nixon was affected by this and the staff -- many in the staff, bill safire denounced the speech in his memoirs as did henry kissinger, although haldeman says, kissinger had heard the speech and complemented the president before he delivered it. so i guess, tell that whole story and i have got a line in there which is, i am not sure, i believe it was at that demonstration where i told them, i told somebody, i said, i was in the first floor of the eob in my office. i said, i went down to get a pack of cigarettes and ran into the 82nd airborne, but i went down there and there were all of these kids down there, these paratroopers, they were sitting
there looking around. and they were about i would say 10 years younger than me, and i would tell you, the demonstrators are lucky they didn't get through those busses and tried to run into the white house. they would have -- they would have gotten -- they would have met some real force. brian: how many more books do you think you will write? pat: you know, i have people who have asked me to write another book. you know, i am just not sure. i am not sure. i don't know -- once i got this done, i thought of doing a slim book on -- with reagan, i just don't. i think as a man said, i have said what i came to say. brian: so you have done everything you wanted to do? pat: well, yes. i am -- i feel i am very fortunate being around still you know. brian: you mentioned, by the way in here that you had open heart surgery at one point? pat: sure, it was right after the california primary in 1992 that's why guys said, why are
you staying in the race? that's because the doctor told me i have got to in for heart -- open heart surgery right after the primaries that you couldn't last -- this was a surgery i had that made me so nervous when i gave that culture and war speech in the convention whether i could really have the energy to do it, so yes. brian: what was wrong with the heart? pat: the heart valve was leaking badly, very, very bad and started to deteriorate. the doctor that described, he said, it will get worse, worse, worse, and suddenly it will take a turn down like that and you get the valve in just as it makes the turn. brian: you mentioned bill safire earlier and i want to show folks bill safire just talking about writing and the new york times hiring him to be a columnist and i want you to put him in context with your brand of conservatism. pat: okay. [video clip] safire: he is like a layer cake and the top layer is patriot and beneath that there is mild paranoia and beneath that there is -- very good to people who
work with him and thoughtful and not at all abusive. and underneath that, a hard liner. brian: he was a wordsmith and wrote speeches and then did his column in the new york times, where were the two of you on the political spectrum? pat: well, bill safire was regarded when he came aboard as a -- but he had been with nixon in 1960 and nixon was -- bill was one of the people -- four or five people when i went to new york, he said, you have got to go see vic klasky, you have got to go see bill safire come down here, see sandy quinn and all of these waldron people who were really loyalists who were considered people that he talked to and they ought to come to know me. my read on safire was that he was basically a new york liberal republican, very comfortable with rockefeller, lindsey and nixon. he had worked for nixon.
he was loyal to him personally and he was a wordsmith and a writer, but he was on the other side for me in all the arguments and you know, there is buzzing and things like that, and i was basically very close to being a solid goldwater conservative. when ray price and safire were regarded as, i would say moderate liberal, liberal republicans and i remember when bill safire was hired at the end of nixon's first term, frankly, i think partly due to the agnew speech, all of these liberal newspapers were all biased and overwhelming and so the new york times decided they needed a conservative and so they hired bill safire and sulzberger, said we needed a conservative on the page and so we put that and it was in the new summer that bill had been hired and nixon wrote a little note, "buchanan, haldeman, safire a conservative. somebody tell human events." so we all had a great laugh at that, but bill went on to win a pulitzer prize but he is a social conservative now.
on economics, he was -- bill was the one who worked on the speech, the famous speech where wage and price controls and all things the big end of brettenwood was going off the gold standard, he went up to campaign and it was a great opportunity and a great moment. brian: here is a moment that you also write about. this is at pat nixon's funeral in 1993, it's only about 20 seconds. [video clip] he was really -- he felt a tremendous sense of loss because he depended on pat. she was a very strong woman and she never did leave him or turned her back on him in any of the controversial things he was involved in. she stuck with him and he leaned on her and depended on her. brian: you worked closely with her in 1966. pat: oh, she is a great lady. brian: but what did you see in
pat nixon that none of the rest of us saw. i mean, what did she do when the two of you were working together? pat: well, she was so down to earth. she called herself ms. ryan and she would answer the -- and her name was thelma pat ryan nixon, so she was in the same little office with rose woods and me and these people would call up. i remember one of them called up and said, "i would like to talk to vice president nixon." and she said, "well, he is busy right now." and she said -- a personal friend of pat nixon and pat went to mrs. nixon, she would tell us that and she smoked, and i was a chain smoker then and so when i ran out of cigarettes, i would go, "mrs. nixon, have you got a couple of marlboro's until i can go get a --"
but she was a wonderful lady. i think she was a very strong lady. she had a good sense of humor and she was a realist and you know, i just liked her very much and i remember after i testified, the watergate testimony came off so well and the president said, "come on over to the mansion." you know, right after i testified, about five or six o'clock or so, i was having a party in my office and so i went over there and she comes running up and she waltzes me all around the room after i testified. but she was a reserved, but she was a great lady. julie has a written wonderful book about her, just a wonderful book about her. brian: what did you think of the media coverage of her and over your lifetime, when did you recognize that the media is being against somebody in politics? what's the giveaway? pat: what do you mean? how was she treated in brian: yes. pat: well, i think she was -- i think it was simplistic and sort of plastic pat that she just stands there behind him and doesn't you know, doesn't move and has the same -- maintains the same posture or facial expression and that wasn't her at all. when do you discover that the media -- i mean, when nixon -- when i first went to work with nixon, it was in early 1966 and
as safire says, regularly he would say that the press is the enemy. now, remember that, you know. and i had to go on to journalism school. i worked at the globe democrat, most of the -- a lot of the reporters and others were -- you know, liberals and moderates, and a few conservatives and things, and i just didn't believe they were the enemy. i knew nixon had gotten a horrible press for years, but i think that even all of us, you take ray price. he was with the herald tribune and i think a lot of them came to believe they really had it in for nixon. you know, they just -- i mean, who is that intellectual that i quote in there, the fellow who said, "you know, you cannot be an intellectual, member of the intelligence in new york and have voted for richard nixon. you just cannot be that." i didn't understand it. i think he was a progressive republican and domestic policy. he did run a populous small c conservative campaign, law and order and things like that. but he was an internationalist, not a globalist and all of these things, they were not that different from kennedy's positions you know, jack
kennedy's and in some ways, kennedy was more conservative i think in terms of you know, bury any burden and all the rest of it, and yet, there was just a hostility to nixon that i have never seen before and you know, until we get to trump and of course president trump fights differently where the press would come and just fights back daily. brian: i have got a piece of tape that i have got to show you. we are close to the end of this. pat: sure. brian: i don't know if you remember this. this is october 24, 1999. see if you remember this. >> tomorrow, pat buchanan is announcing that he will be a candidate for the presidency in the reform party. trump: i just think it's ridiculous. >> why? i mean, he wrote a book. because look, he is a hitler hippie lover.
i guess he is an anti-semite. he doesn't like the blacks. he doesn't like the gays. it's just incredible that anybody could embrace this guy and maybe he will get four or five percent of the vote and he will be a really staunched right whacko vote. i am not even sure if it is right. it is just a whacko vote and i just can't imagine that anybody can take him seriously. brian: what do you think when you see that? pat: that's when we announced. i thought we can beat trump with the nomination and i think we could. brian: the reform party. pat: reform party and we got the nomination, but i look upon those with trump. we found out these are really terms of endearment. i mean, i look at that and i do laugh, but i will say this to reveal something that a number of years ago, i got a call from donald trump and he was very gracious and mentioned some things he had said way back there and he said and regretted and was very gracious about it and so i supported him almost 100 percent. supported a lot of his positions. i was elated that he came out with those positions.
i voted for him in the virginia primer. i voted for him in the general election, and so i hope the president's success. brian: who is more honest in the public light? donald trump or pat buchanan? pat: it's what the nuns told me how to behave. what did you say? who is more honest? brian: who is more honest? pat buchanan? i mean, when you said what you said, how often were you not telling the truth and how often is he not telling the truth? pat: i don't think -- i don't think trump -- i think trump says what he believes and twits
what he believes. brian: he believes you are a hitler follower? pat: no, i would say, i think he was -- it was what he felt at the time. i think that was partly motivated by the fact that if he had decided on the reform party nomination that he was out of the race and it might have looked like -- i don't know his motives. it might look like that i had gotten in and he wasn't getting in. brian: he called you a whacko. pat: right, and i wish that was the worst thing i have been called. brian: but if you always -- when you have taken points, i mean, points of view and all, have you always told the truth in politics? pat: let's say this. look, when i worked for richard nixon, i am an assistant to the president and ronald reagan, as i have said, what you do is -- i argue for a policy inside and once the president decides, you have got three choices. you go out and defend the policy that the presidents did. you keep your mouth shut or you that the presidents did. you keep your mouth shut or you get out. now, clearly, i would explain policies like -- let me give you -- nixon, i travelled with him through the middle east 50 years ago, almost exactly at the time of the 60-day war, we went through africa and everything and he was a critic of vietnam, of johnson's policy. he defended it everywhere he was because he saw himself, i think as almost an attorney for the government of the united states, obligated to defend the policy and explain the policy and it was really something to behold
and i think he felt good about that. he was great friends with rusk, or a great admirer of rusk and so i think you -- i mean, look, let me say this, i don't go out, you don't go out and tell a lie, but you do say, "here is why the president is doing this. this is why he thinks the china trip is good," and you don't go out and say, "geez, i think this is going to blow up in our face." i mean, you have to -- i mean, there are certain obligations you have got if you are -- in effect, we are all attorneys for the man sitting there in the oval office and we are giving it the best defense we can. i mean, i wrote the defense. i got it hanging on my wall, the famous watergate defense, i think it was may 22, 1973. all of these -- and i argued all night with buzhardt and haig. they are going in and out and i said, "this doesn't sound right." but i got a note from president nixon that is hanging on my wall that says, "al told me that you were a great devil's advocate. thanks for all you do above and beyond the call of duty." that's the job. it's a great job, brian. it's not bad at all. brian: this book is called, "nixon's white house wars: the
battles that made him broke a president and divided america forever." our guest has been patrick j. buchanan. thank you very much. pat: well, thank you. ♪ >> for free transcripts or to give us your comments about this program, visit us at our website. q and a programs are also available as c-span podcasts. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] >> the interview with pat
buchanan, here are some other programs you might like. an interview in 2014 on his previous interview with president nixon. john farrell talking about his biography. and our 2015 interview with evan thomas discussing his book. these anytime or search our entire video library at www.c-span.org. british prime minister theresa may takes questions from commons. of then president trump's remarks at saturday night's tribute for veterans at the kennedy center. at 11:00 p.m., another chance to see q and a with former nixon speechwriter and commentator pat cannon -- pat buchanan. of the uk too. >> questions for the prime
minister? >> thank you, mister speaker. the house will be aware that the prosecution service announced charging petitions and relations to hillsboro. i know from working with the families when i was home secretary this will be a day of mixed emotion for them but the house will understand i cannot do anything further on matters subject to criminal prosecution. i have meetings with ministerial colleagues and others in addition to my powerhouse, such meetings later today. >> over the past month, social media -- people putting labor party posters on my home and pushing them through my letterbox and some even urinated on my office door. a