It was the last year of the Reagan administration. The Nixon aide who received and followed the order, Fred Malek (above), was up for a top GOP job. I was then Nixon's post-presidential chief of staff. After the story by Woodward and his Washington Post colleague, Walter Pincus, was published, I wrote an op-ed piece in the Washington Times accusing the Post of recycling a story that Woodward and Carl Bernstein had first reported many years before in their book The Final Days.
The afternoon my article appeared, Woodward called me. While he said that he hadn't recalled the reference to White House Jew-counting in The Final Days until he read my article, he insisted that Malek's prominence in party circles made it news once again. He also questioned my labored contention that Nixon's obsession with Jews could be entirely accounted for by his obsession with liberals.
When I asked Woodward if he thought Nixon was anti-Semitic, he said, "I don't know." As for Malek, he told the Post in 1988 that Nixon's fears about a cabal of Jews manipulating economic statistics to his detriment were "ridiculous" and "nonsense." But more recently, as Krusten notes, Nixon library director Tim Naftali couldn't get Malek to repeat his criticisms on camera:
Malek comes across better to me in what he told Woodward in 1988 than in Ben Stein’s “Leave Fred Malek alone” column in 2010 (shades of “Leave Britney Alone”) or in the oral history interview he later gave [to Naftali] on the BLS matter. (I’ve described Malek’s stance in the latter as “no harm, no foul.”) Yet Malek had more at stake, as he was being considered in 1988 for chairman of the Republican National Committee.According to an on-line catalog at nixonlibrary.gov, Malek's interview with Naftali is among those to be included the new Nixon library Watergate exhibit. It also features convicted perjurer Dwight Chapin's dramatic charge that Nixon was present when Chapin (right) was ordered to set up a dirty tricks operation for the 1972 presidential campaign.
So far, the new exhibit at the federal Nixon library has evidently been blocked by friends and former White House colleagues of Malek and Chapin who now control Nixon's foundation.