A serious fight broke out within the American Conservative Union leadership in the wake of a recent Bob Novak column, resulting in ACU Chairman David Keene calling for the resignation of Vice Chairman Don Devine.
We asked Mr. Devine for a response to the situation. Here’s what he sent over:
The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
May 22, 2004
I am writing to apologize to you for any difficulty that may have been caused by me as it was reported in Robert D. Novak??¢â???¬â???¢s column printed on May 20, 2004 in The Washington Post and other newspapers.
I wish to advise you that I have every respect for you as president and personally. Contrary to the impression of the column, I rose respectfully and clapped when you entered both the reception room and the main ballroom for the American Conservative Union 40th Anniversary and did the same when you left. As I am sure you know as well as anyone, we simply did not get the opportunity to shake hands at the picture-taking opportunity, as they were directing you to the photographers to speed things along and I was at the other end of the line.
I was not aware Mr. Novak was writing a story and would not have said anything if I had. I appreciated that you would come to ACU and would not want you to be repaid in such a manner for your courtesy. In fact, I was approached by other media and refused to discuss the matter at that time. It was only the fact that I have known Mr. Novak for so long that I was caught unaware. I speak to him regularly but have not appeared in his column for years and years and did not expect to at this time either.
Again, I apologize for any contrary impression. I may disagree with you on occasion but I have the highest respect for your office and I know how difficult your job is–and that you are doing what you think is best under very difficult circumstances.
Donald J. Devine
2nd Vice Chairman
American Conservative Union