How Richard Nixon's Most Infamous Speech Happened At The Happiest Place On Earth

It is probably universally accepted that Richard Nixon was one of the most controversial U.S. presidents of all time. As Britannica explains, he was the 37th United States president from the years 1969 to 1974. Nixon was a Republican and had Gerald Ford as his vice president. While Nixon had a few accomplishments during his presidency, such as his opposition to segregation and allocating more funding to civil rights agencies, much of his tenure was marred by his infamous controversies. 

The biggest of these, of course, was the Watergate scandal. As History says, Nixon was caught wiretapping his political opponents at the Democratic National Committee headquarters. The scandal was huge, resulting in calls for impeachment, which led to Nixon's eventual resignation on August 9, 1974. But before then, Nixon gave his now infamous "I am not a crook" speech in the year 1973. What's most peculiar about this is that Nixon actually gave this speech at one of the most unlikely places: Walt Disney World. 

What was the Watergate scandal?

The Watergate Scandal was so infamous that it has become common practice to add "-gate" to a controversy when referencing it, such as Pizzagate. But how did Watergate actually go down? According to History, multiple people who broke into the Democratic National Committee offices were arrested on June 17, 1972. The burglars in question were identified as being associated with Nixon, particularly his reelection campaign. They stole documents and wiretapped phones, all in an attempt at giving Nixon a political advantage. 

Nixon tried vehemently to cover up these sabotage attempts, though he ultimately failed, as Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward broke the news in The Washington Post. Years later in 1977, Nixon continued to deny his crimes in an interview with David Frost, saying that "when the president does it, that means it is not illegal." However, that and many other public statements by him would pale in comparison to his most famous one yet. 

Nixon said his infamous 'I am not a crook' line at Walt Disney World

On November 17, 1973, Richard Nixon held a press conference at the happiest place on earth: Walt Disney World in Orlando (per Politico). It wasn't Nixon's first time at the mouse kingdom, as he had made a trip there in the past. According to Mental Floss, Nixon visited the amusement park in 1959 with his family, where he actually helped usher in the new Monorail system. Nixon would then visit the park years later, but for something far more serious. 

As NPR explains, Nixon held a press conference at Disney World resort before hundreds of Associated Press reporters and uttered the phrase "I am not a crook" in defense of his involvement with Watergate. As told by Weird Disney, the speech itself took place in the Contemporary Resort's Ballroom of the Americas room at Disney World. He followed the phrase up with, "In all my years of public life, I have never obstructed justice."