Robert Mardian – An Armenian Who Refused to Become the President of the United States

Robert Mardian – An ArmenianRobert Mardian was one of the most influential US Republican politicians of the mid-20th century.

The future politician was born in 1923 in Pasadena (California) into a family of Armenians from the city of Adana (now Turkey) who had managed to miraculously escape the horrors of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and move to the United States.

After graduating from school, Robert began to study at two American prestigious universities simultaneously – the University of California in Los Angeles and Columbia University in New York City.

Having received a law degree and after serving in the US Navy, the young Armenian established a law firm in Los Angeles. In the 1950s, following the example of his elder brother Samuel, he joined the US Republican Party.

During the following years, politics became the main occupation for Mardian. In 1962, he became Deputy Secretary General of the Republican Party.

In 1968, the future US President Richard Nixon noticed the Armenian politician and invited him along with another well-known American politician of Armenian descent Kenneth Hachikian to manage his election campaign. Later, speechwriter Aram Bakhshian also joined them.

This team was the key to the success of Richard Nixon in the presidential elections in 1969.

In the 1970s, Robert Mardian, holding the position of Nixon’s chief adviser on foreign policy issues, was considered one of the most influential US politicians on par with the US Attorney General John Mitchell and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

Robert Mardian was embroiled in the Watergate scandal when 5 men were caught during an attempt to install listening devices in the headquarters of the Democratic Party in Washington in 1972. The Watergate scandal was the reason for Richard Nixon’s resignation.

Mardian was also convicted for the conspiracy, but this conviction would be overturned because of procedural unfairness.

In 1974, Robert Mardian became the Secretary General of the Republican Party. A year later, most Republicans supported his nomination for the presidency of the United States, but the politician refused to participate in the election campaign.

In the early 1980s, Mardian returned to the White House for a short time. He worked in the administration of the 40th US President Ronald Reagan but soon decided to leave his position and support Armenian George Deukmejian in the elections of the Governor of California in 1982, which Deukmejian would win.

In the late 1980s, the influential American of Armenian descent finally retired from politics and became engaged in research and teaching activities.

Robert Mardian died of lung cancer in 2006 in the San Clemente, California.


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