NEWS AND OPINION:
Fifty years ago, the Vietnam War was ended by President Nixon and hundreds of prisoners of war came home to their families. After the Paris Peace Accords were signed on Jan. 27, 1973, 591 prisoners of war were repatriated — poised to restart life at home.
That was a signal for some celebration. Some four months later — on May 24, 1973 — the president and first lady Patricia Nixon staged an immense dinner at the White House and welcomed the returning POWs — personally greeting each one of them. The first lady, along with presidential daughters Tricia Nixon Cox and Julie Nixon Eisenhower, met with spouses and mothers of the returning heroes.
The Nixon Foundation in Yorba Linda, Calif. is recreating that very event — the largest dinner in White House history, then and still.
“On May 24, 2023, exactly 50 years later, nearly 200 of those POWs will dine in the Nixon Library’s White House East Room replica and recreate that dinner, down to the menu items and centerpieces,” the foundation said in a statement shared with Inside the Beltway.
Other reunion events include the grand opening of “Captured: Shot Down in Vietnam,” a new exhibition about the experience of the Vietnam POWs; a community parade through local streets, recognition events, plus reflections and stories of those who were there some five decades ago.
The event has been deemed the “official 50th anniversary celebration” of America’s POWs return from Vietnam.
Find more information at NixonFoundation.org.
TRUMP EDGES OUT DeSANTIS
Well, here’s a surprise poll.
“Most voters view Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis favorably, but if he decides to enter the 2024 presidential race, he would face an uphill battle for the Republican nomination against former President Donald Trump,” a new Rasmussen Reports survey says.
Mr. Trump received 45% of the support, while Mr. DeSantis got 32%. The survey of 900 likely U.S. voters was conducted Feb. 8-12 and released Feb. 17.
Meanwhile, the pair soon will be close in more ways than one, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Mr. Trump stages a fundraiser for MAGA Inc. — his super PAC — on Thursday at his Mar-a-Lago estate. On Friday, Mr. DeSantis will host a donor gathering just 5 miles away at the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach.
THINKING OF CARTER
The nation is thinking quiet thoughts of Jimmy Carter, seriously ailing but very much in the news at age 98 and now in hospice care. Historians are also considering the 39th president.
“Though Jimmy Carter’s presidency was bedeviled by problems beyond his control, he had a marvelous second act as a former president and humanitarian. This Annapolis grad was responsible for the durable Camp David Accords and was a better Cold Warrior than history has given him credit for,” said presidential historian Craig Shirley in a written statement shared with Inside the Beltway.
So what was the thinking behind the Carter policy?
“Jimmy Carter clearly defined the foundation of his foreign policy,” a State Department history of his time in office noted.
“Our policy is based on an historical vision of America’s role,” Mr. Carter said while delivering the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame in 1977.
“Our policy is derived from a larger view of global change. Our policy is rooted in our moral values, which never change. Our policy is reinforced by our material wealth and by our military power. Our policy is designed to serve mankind,” Mr. Carter said.
ONE FOR REAGAN
Curtis Sliwa, long known for founding the Guardian Angels organization of New York City in 1979, has launched another organization to consider. Mr. Sliwa has founded the Ronald Reagan Republican Club — to be headquartered in Astoria, Queens.
“This move marks a major shift in the political landscape of New York City, as the club is determined to strike at the heart of the Democratic Socialists of America’s power in the neighborhoods represented by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and New York City Councilwoman Tiffany Caban,” Mr. Sliwa said in a statement shared with Inside the Beltway.
“The Ronald Reagan Republican Club seeks to bring conservative values to the forefront of local politics. The club was created to promote fiscal responsibility, small government, and lower taxes in Queens while maintaining an open dialogue with the community about the issues facing them,” notes a mission statement from the new organization.
“We’re going into the belly of the beast of the Democratic Socialists of America in New York City. We’re going to take on AOC and Caban,” Mr. Sliwa said.
GET OUT OF TOWN
Need to travel somewhere? Need a getaway?
One resource to consider is National Trust Tours, which has specialized in thoughtfully curated travel experiences on six continents and the South Pacific for the last 50 years. Those getaways include excursions by rail, private jet, bicycle, sailboat — and yes, there are plenty of trips in the U.S. for the “closer to home” crowd.
You can, for example, “cruise the Great Lakes aboard the small ship Le Bellot,” the organization advises. Or you can spend five days exploring the “architecturally distinguished” great estates of New York’s Hudson River valley.
Curious? Find the possibilities at NationalTrustTours.com.
POLL DU JOUR
• 66% of U.S. adults “strongly approve” of monogamy — defined as “a relationship where two partners have a commitment to be sexually and emotionally exclusive with each other”; 70% of women and 63% of men also approve.
• 16% “somewhat approve” of monogamy; 14% of women and 18% of men agree.
• 6% “somewhat disapprove”; 3% of women and 8% of men agree.
• 6% “strongly disapprove”; 6% of women and 5% of men agree.
• 6% are “not sure” about the issue; 7% of women and 5% of men are also unsure.
SOURCE: A YouGov survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 1-6.
• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.