After former President Nixon’s resignation, in 1975 President Ford sought to manage the difficult ending of the Vietnam War by helping U.S. personnel and allies still there to evacuate. The North Vietnam sought to test his resolve and Ford went to Congress to ask for a relief package. But one U.S. Senator vocally opposed all support.
The Ford Administration engaged in what was at the time an embarrassing and hurried evacuation of personnel from the rooftop of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. Ford successfully rescued 1,500 South Vietnamese allies prior to the country’s fall.
When they arrived on U.S. soil, Ford again went to Congress to ask for financial relief to help these refugees. Again, the same senator opposed him, saying, “The United States has no obligation to evacuate one — or 100,001 — South Vietnamese.”
President Ford then turned to nonprofit and faith-based organizations to help voluntarily. The same senator also reportedly belittled these efforts as well.
The senator was Joe Biden.
Biden was one of three Foreign Relations Committee members who voted against Ford’s funding request and one of 14 who voted against a relief package on the Senate floor.
Last year, the Washington Examiner cited records from the Ford administration showing how Biden tried to deny refugee status to hundreds of thousands fleeing from Vietnam right before the North Vietnamese victory was imminent.
Eventually, more than 130,000 South Vietnamese were able to evacuate and were granted refugee status in the U.S.