Richard Nixon photo

Reply to Reporters' Questions About the Bombing in the United States Capitol.

March 01, 1971

I DON'T HAVE any new information on it that has not already been disclosed. We have had warnings with regard to the bombings of the White House, the bombings of the Capitol, and so forth. We must not allow this kind of an incident to close these great public buildings to the people. That is the message that I got from the Attorney General, and Hugh Scott, and other leaders.

These warnings will occur and incidents of violence will occur. But the Capitol and the White House belong to the American people. And if we can provide proper security without repression so the people can continue to go to those buildings--I think the fact that the Attorney General has now offered to the Congress the training for the Capitol Police force that we have given to the Executive Protective Service at the White House is very important.

You know, we have a million and a half visitors at the White House every year. And somebody has suggested it would be very easy for a visitor to come into the White House with a big bag or a shopping bag or something like that or any receptacle which was not too obvious, go into a restroom, leave it there, and the place would blow. But that is one of the risks.

The main thing--the greater risk is to close these buildings, to be too afraid of this. That is what violent people want. They want to frighten public officials and the American people into the place where we will not have the open buildings, the open society that we do have. They would like to keep the President in Washington rather than come out in the country.

Well, it won't work.

Note: The President spoke at 12:30 p.m. on arrival at the Fort Des Moines Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa.

The explosion occurred early in the morning on March 1, 1971.

Richard Nixon, Reply to Reporters' Questions About the Bombing in the United States Capitol. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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