Former President Gerald Ford is being remembered by an Iowan in Washington as a great statesman at a time when America sorely needed just that. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, who was first elected to the U.S. House when Ford was President, says Ford was a private man who found his life suddenly very public, yet he served the nation well with his straightforward manner.
Grassley says “President Ford was a very, very quiet sort of person who never wanted to be president, never expected to be president, and was only president by the chances of history.” Ford died Tuesday night at age 93, the longest-living former president. Ford has the distinction of being the nation’s only unelected president and vice president.
Ford was appointed V.P. with the resignation of Spiro Agnew and became president with the resignation of Richard Nixon in 1974. Grassley says Ford helped heal the nation after the Watergate scandal. Grassley, who was the only Republican in Iowa’s Congressional delegation at the time, says it was a difficult time for his party.
Grassley says “I remember that he tried to be a strong president in the sense of vetoing just hundreds of bills that Congress passed, particularly bills that were overspending.” He says Ford seemed to be more at ease when he wasn’t under the glare of the media’s spotlight.
Grassley says “He was a great American and devoted to the legislative process and the democratic process and probably was much more comfortable in the House of Representatives than he was as president of the United States.” Ford had a few bouts with his health in the past year, battling pneumonia in January and he underwent two heart treatments in August.