With so much… stuff going on in politics this year, people seem to have had one particular historical event at the front of their minds. Yep, I’m talking about the infamous Watergate scandal. For those who slept through this lesson in high school history class, here’s a quick refresher.
The date was June 17, 1972. Ex-intelligence officer E. Howard Hunt and lawyer G. Gordon Liddy checked into room 214 at the Watergate Hotel with a mission: they and a group of Nixon associates who called themselves the “White House Plumbers” were going to break into the Democratic National Convention headquarters next door to the hotel, likely to photograph campaign documents and install listening devices in telephones. (By the way, the story of why they called themselves “the plumbers” is super cute; one of them, David Young, was home for Thanksgiving explaining to his grandmother that he had been hired to help Nixon stop leaks at the White House, and she replied, “Oh, so you’re a plumber!”)
Anyways, back to Watergate. From the room, Liddy and Hunt used microphones and radios to direct their co-conspirators. Well, they tried to, until the burglars were spotted by a Watergate security guard, who found the doors to the building next door taped open and called the police. From there, the whole conspiracy was blown wide open… and the scheme would forever be known as the Watergate Scandal.
In honor of the 45-year anniversary of the foiled break-in attempt, the Watergate Hotel is playing up the incident in an incredibly clever way. For starters, they tapped the costume designer for the hit political thriller show Scandal, Lyn Paolo, to help give the room a late 60s / early 70s chic makeover. Think, vintage typewriters and period furnishings. The walls have been covered in framed newspaper clippings about the incident. You’ll also get a bottle of red wine and complimentary popcorn (in reference to the favorite indulgence of Scandal‘s main character).
The rest of the Watergate Hotel is getting subtle hints to its claim to fame as well; keycards are emblazoned with the phrase “No need to break in”, robes are monogrammed with the words “Cover up”, pencils are stamped with “I stole this from the Watergate Hotel”, and instead of hold music, those who call the hotel are treated to sound bites from Nixon speeches.
And if you’re a hardcore conspiracy theorist, you can do some sleuthing of your own and maybe uncover more scandal with this Watergate Guide to D.C.
More fascinating history…