Leslie King, 38th President of the United States
Gerald Ford’s ascendancy to the office of the President of the United States marked several firsts. For one, President Ford was the first (and so far only) Eagle scout to reach the nation’s highest office. Then there is the name change: Gerald Ford was born Leslie Lynch King, Jr., making him the first President who had changed his last name (there’s been one other since, any guesses?).
Finally, Gerald Ford was the first (and so far only) President who was never actually elected to the office of the Presidency or Vice Presidency. Here’s the story.
Richard Nixon’s Vice President was originally Spiro Agnew, who resigned the office due to pending criminal charges.
In 1973, Nixon invoked the 25th amendment to nominate the House minority whip, Gerald Ford, to become his Vice President. Congress confirmed Ford, and the Representative from the state of Michigan became Nixon’s new Vice President, marking another ‘first’ (the first use of the 25th amendment to appoint a Vice President).
On August 9, 1974–less than a year later–Richard Nixon resigned from the office of Presidency (another first!), and Gerald Ford assumed it, making Ford the only man to hold the office who was not elected on a Presidential or Vice Presidential ticket.
Similarly, Gerald Ford’s own Vice President, Nelson Rockefeller, was also appointed under the 25th amendment. This marked the second time in as many years that the 25th amendment had ever been used to appoint a Vice President.
You can learn more about Gerald Ford and his service to the country at the Gerald Ford Presidential Library and Museum’s Facebook page.