George H.W. Bush Serves as the Chairman of the Republican National Committee

Amidst the Watergate scandal, Nixon asked Bush to become chairman of the Republican National Committee in 1973.

Bush accepted, and held this position when the popularity of both Nixon and the Republican Party plummeted. He defended Nixon steadfastly, but later as Nixon's complicity became clear, Bush focused more on defending the Republican Party, while still maintaining loyalty to Nixon. As chairman, Bush formally requested that Nixon eventually resign for the good of the Republican party. Nixon did this on August 9, 1974; Bush noted in his diary that "There was an aura of sadness, like somebody died... The [resignation] speech was vintage Nixon—a kick or two at the press—enormous strains. One couldn't help but look at the family and the whole thing and think of his accomplishments and then think of the shame... [ Ford's swearing-in offered] indeed a new spirit, a new lift."

January 18, 1973

Bush serves as chairman of the Republican National Committee, where he actively seeks to increase participation of women and minorities.

The 1856 Republican National Convention appointed the first RNC. It consisted of one member from each state and territory to serve for four years. Each national convention since then has followed the precedent of one representative per state or territory, regardless of population. From 1924 to 1952 there was a national committeeman and national committeewoman from each state and U.S. possession, and from Washington, D.C.. In 1952, committee membership was expanded to include the state party chairs of states that voted Republican in the preceding presidential election, have a Republican majority in their combined U.S. representatives and senators, or have Republican governors. By 1968, membership reached 145.
The only person to have chaired the RNC and later become U.S. president is George H.W. Bush. A number of the chairs of the RNC have been state governors.

January: Bush leaves the United Nations to become chairman of the Republican National Committee. A month later, the Senate Watergate Committee is established to investigate the administration's involvement in the Watergate break-in.