Trump to appoint Fred Malek, who counted Jews for Nixon, as head of think tank board

August 30, 2017
Fred Malek poses in his home in McLean, Va., on Sept. 8, 2014. Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post

President Donald Trump will appoint Fred Malek, a former White House aide who recorded the number of Jews working in the Bureau of Labor Statistics for President Nixon, to chair the board of a prominent think tank affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution.

The White House Press Secretary’s Office announced Trump’s decision for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in a release Wednesday. The policy research center is in Washington, D.C.

In 1971, Nixon complained to members of his staff about a “Jewish cabal” in government working against him. He specifically set out to demote members of the Bureau of Labor Statistics who he believed were tweaking employment statistics to make him look bad.

Malek’s role in documenting members of the bureau he thought were Jewish was first revealed in a book by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in 1976. He sent a list of names he thought sounded Jewish to White House aides H.R. Haldeman and Charles Colson in September 1971. The employees Malek named were demoted to different positions within the bureau.

The story resurfaced in 1988, and Malek resigned from his post as deputy chairman of the Republican National Committee.

But Malek has remained active in Republican politics. He was a finance co-chair of John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2007 and then became an adviser to Sarah Palin, McCain’s running mate.

Jewish leaders such as former Anti-Defamation League chief Abraham Foxman and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., have accepted Malek’s apologies over the incident.

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