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Q: Mr. Potus ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Mr. Potus
Category: Relationships and Society > Government
Asked by: dprk007-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 12 Nov 2006 12:31 PST
Expires: 12 Dec 2006 12:31 PST
Question ID: 782145
If a president of the United wishes to resign before his term of office expires
what is the process he must go through? (assume he is doing it because
he is no longer interested in the job or personally feels it is too
difficult or too stressful)

Also has this ever happened?

Yours Truly

Subject: Re: Mr. Potus
Answered By: pinkfreud-ga on 12 Nov 2006 13:36 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
To date, Richard Nixon is the only U.S. President to have resigned the
Presidency. The Constitution of the United States provides guidelines
on the succession of the Presidency in case of resignation, but the
Constitution does not specify the exact means by which a resignation
shall be achieved.

When it became evident that he was likely to be removed from office,
Nixon announced his intent to resign in a televised speech on August
8, 1974. The next day, August 9, 1974, Nixon's formal letter of
resignation was delivered to the U.S. Secretary of State. Gerald Ford
was sworn in as President just minutes after Kissinger initialed his
acceptance of the letter and applied the official seal to the

"The Congressional Act of 1789 placed the official seal of the United
States in the custody of the Secretary of State. The seal is affixed
to several types of documents, including proclamations of treaties,
conventions, and agreements, and on envelopes carrying communications
from the president to heads of other governments.

Former U.S. President Richard Nixon sent his letter of resignation to
then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, to make it official with a

CNN: Clinton acquitted; president apologizes again

Nixon's resignation speech: Nixon's Resignation Speech

Nixon's letter of resignation, delivered to Secretary of State Henry
Kissinger, was brief and to the point:

"August 9, 1974

 Dear Mr. Secretary:

 I hereby resign the Office of President of the United States.

 Richard Nixon"

The History Place:

"On August 5, 1974, the long sought after audio tapes provided the
'smoking gun' which revealed President Nixon had been deeply involved
in the coverup and had ordered Haldeman to halt the FBI investigation
just six days after the Watergate break-in...

That revelation resulted in a complete collapse of support for Nixon
in Congress. On Friday, August 9, Nixon resigned the presidency and
avoided the likely prospect of losing the impeachment vote in the full
House and a subsequent trial in the Senate. He thus became the only
U.S. President ever to resign. Vice President Gerald R. Ford succeeded
him and a month later granted Nixon a full pardon for any crimes he
might have committed while President.

Richard Nixon had served a total of 2,026 days as the 37th President
of the United States. He left office with 2 1/2 years of his second
term remaining."

The History Place: Presidential Impeachment Proceedings 

My Google search strategy:

Google Web Search: "united states" constitution president resign OR
resigns OR resignation

Google Web Search: nixon resignation letter OR speech

I hope this is helpful! 

Best regards,

Clarification of Answer by pinkfreud-ga on 12 Nov 2006 15:18 PST
In case you wonder why Nixon's letter of resignation was addressed to
the Secretary of State, here's the relevant section of the US Code
(USC Title 3, Chapter 1, 20):

"The only evidence of a refusal to accept, or of a resignation of the
office of President or Vice President, shall be an instrument in
writing, declaring the same, and subscribed by the person refusing to
accept or resigning, as the case may be, and delivered into the office
of the Secretary of State."

Request for Answer Clarification by dprk007-ga on 18 Nov 2006 10:28 PST
Hello Pink

I just need a small clarification.

As of course you have pointed out Nixon was the only person to resign.
 However he was really was forced to resign and if he had his own way
("I am no quitter") he would have completed his term of office.

I guess my question is if a President just wants to quit, is a one line letter
of resignation sufficient or is there a more formal process that they
would be expected to go through?
(And I understand this has never so far happened)


Clarification of Answer by pinkfreud-ga on 18 Nov 2006 11:18 PST
As far as I have been able to determine, there is no lengthy formal
procedure for the resignation of the President. Since it has only been
done once, I assume that Nixon has set the standard.  Although he
resigned under duress (since the threat of removal from office was
looming over him), his one-line letter of resignation made no mention
of the circumstances, and the letter may very well serve as a model
for any future resignations, for any reason. It is my presumption that
the televised address to the nation was, from a legal standpoint,
unnecessary. The U.S. Code (quoted above) requires only that a
subscribed (signed) letter declaring the resignation should be
delivered to the Secretary of State.

dprk007-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
Well Pink

So sad it is the end of an era and many many thanks for your WONDERFUL
answers over the years.

And apologies for my little deception (but i think you probably knew!!)

John Falls

Subject: Re: Mr. Potus
From: pinkfreud-ga on 29 Nov 2006 16:48 PST

Thank you for the kind words, the five stars, and the generous tip.
You were one of my favorite customers. In fact, it appears that you
were TWO of my favorite customers. You and many others helped to make
GA what it was, and I think that we shall not see its like again.


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