Rumsfeld came to the Nixon White House in 1970 some five months after I arrived. At the time, I asked White House chief of staff Bob Haldeman what Rummy was going to be doing. “Nothing,” Haldeman told me, explaining that they were placing him on the White House staff (giving him a sinecure) to bolster his chances to win a Senate race in IL.
In time, Haldeman — not to mention — Nixon came to distrust Rumsfeld. Many thought Nixon appointed him Ambassador to NATO as a promotion. In fact, they wanted to get him out of the White House. Haldeman called Rumsfeld “slimy” in his contemporaneous diaries, and Nixon is heard on his tapes discussing Rumsfeld in less than flattering terms.
Most ironic, given Rumsfeld’s current position on Iraq, Rumsfeld argued that Nixon should get the hell out of Vietnam. Rummy was a cut and run guy back then.
It gives an interesting perspective on how the guy that is preaching the "stay the course" line in Iraq now felt during the Vietnam War not to mention the lack of trust he earned during his early years in the Nixon Administration.