On Saturday, retired Army general Alexander Haig died in Baltimore of complications from an infection. He was 85. Haig was a civil servant with an impressive resume, having served under three Republican presidents. While best known for being Richard Nixon's chief of staff, whom he helped steer through the only presidential resignation in history, Haig also served as secretary of state under Ronald Reagan. We rounded up a few tributes of Haig's life and service.
Gen. Haig's influence peaked in his late 40s, during Nixon's last 16 months in office, when brewing developments in the Watergate scandal damaged and increasingly distracted the president. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger famously told Gen. Haig to keep the country together while he held the world together during one of the greatest constitutional crises in the nation's history. Special prosecutor Leon Jaworski, and many others, called Gen. Haig the "37 1/2 president." The Washington Post
Mr. Haig was a rare American breed: a political general. His bids for the presidency quickly came undone. But his ambition to be president was thinly veiled, and that was his undoing. He knew, Reagan's aide Lyn Nofziger once said, that "the third paragraph of his obit" would detail his conduct in the hours after President Reagan was shot, on March 30, 1981. That day, Secretary of State Haig wrongly declared himself the acting president. "The helm is right here," he told members of the Reagan cabinet in the White House Situation Room, "and that means right in this chair for now, constitutionally, until the vice president gets here." His words were taped by Richard V. Allen, then the national security adviser. His colleagues knew better. "There were three others ahead of Mr. Haig in the constitutional succession," Mr. Allen wrote in 2001. "But Mr. Haig's demeanor signaled that he might be ready for a quarrel, and there was no point in provoking one." The New York Times
"Haig, an observant Roman Catholic and elegant dresser who smoked two packs a day during his time in the White House, used famously convoluted constructions (as secretary of state, he famously referred to himself as "the vicar of foreign policy") and made-up words ("I non-concur") known as "Haigspeak."" Politico