Few Americans have both Richard Nixon and Donald Trump to thank for their love life. But for me, it’s true.
I can unequivocally say that Dick was instrumental in my meeting my first girlfriend, and the Donald for my bumping into the woman who would become my wife.
During the Watergate era, I was working as a reporter for a daily newspaper in Northern New Jersey when Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein made a stop at a local university to promote their first book, All the President's Men.
I was invited to see them by a college friend who brought along two colleagues. All three women worked at a competing newspaper. One of them was a cute blonde, who I asked out to go pumpkin hunting. (It was autumn.) That led to a year-long romance that changed the trajectory of my life.
Without Nixon, there would have been no Woodstein, and no venue to have met my paramour. Hence, I am forever indebted to Dick and the two reporters who investigated his nefarious ways.
Fast forward 20 years to 1994 and a conference room in a Manhattan hotel formerly known as the Commodore. The building might have been torn down if it hadn’t been rehabilitated by Trump in partnership with the Hyatt Hotel chain. It was renamed the Hyatt Grand Central. It was the eighties and the Queens man's first foray into Manhattan real estate.
Trump’s so-called “saving” of the hotel would during the following decade result in a press conference on the second floor for a company called Noise Cancellation Technologies. NCT unveiled headphones to counter annoying low frequencies in the air. I was there for Popular Science since readers might benefit from being able to hear movies over the rumble on airplanes. My future wife was there representing a pulp and paper mill trade magazine because factory workers might better be able to protect their hearing. Upon grabbing a muffin and coffee, I sat down a seat away from her. She later confessed that she just knew that I’d spill coffee all over her. (I didn't.) Nor did I seem like a serious reporter. She only changed her mind when I pulled out a notebook and started writing.
Later, I phoned her at her office to ask her out to a movie, one aptly titled The Paper.
We tied the knot 8 years later.
The hotel where we met was in walking distance of both our offices. So, in a sense, if it wasn’t for Trump's role in keeping the location viable as a hotel suitable for press events, we might never have left our desks that day.
I have not always realized my personal connection to two pariah presidents. Maybe I’ve conveniently conjured up this tale because 2022 is the 50th anniversary of the Watergate break-in, and Trump continues to dominant the news 2 years after leaving office.
I did not vote for either Nixon or Trump. But in my own way, I will be forever grateful to them both.
Thank you, Mr. Presidents.