Vic Gold, veteran conservative PR professional, dies at 88

Vic Gold, a native of East St. Louis, became a prominent public relations professional and spokesman for Republican candidates nationally.

BY ROBERT A. COHN, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

Vic Gold, a native of East St. Louis and veteran conservative public relations professional and spokesman for prominent Republican candidates, died last Monday (June 5) in Alexandria, Va.  He was 88.  His daughter Paige said that the cause was complications from an infection.

Described in the New York Times as having been “a hard-charging GOP spokesman and campaigner,” Gold was among a small group of Jewish Republicans during the presidency of Richard M. Nixon. Gold is perhaps most famous for having coined some of the most cutting edge put-downs of the national media.

In speeches Gold wrote for then-Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, the national press corps was described as “the nattering nabobs of conservatism,” and as “an effete corps of impudent snobs.”

Among his other prominent GOP candidates was Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona, the 1964 Republican candidate for president who was to be overwhelmingly defeated in the election by incumbent President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Gold was prominently mentioned in numerous books and essays about the campaigns in which he worked during the peak of his career. Gold was a kind of folk hero to public relations professionals and press secretaries nationally.  His 1975 book “I Don’t Need You When I’m Right:  The Confessions of a Washington PR Man” is considered a classic in its field, along with his “PR as in President,” published in 1972.

Later in his career, Gold resigned from the Republican Party, having become disillusioned during the presidency of George W. Bush, and after the nomination of Donald J. Trump in 2016.

Victor Gold was born on Sept. 25, 1928 in East St. Louis, to Jewish immigrants.  His father, Hymie was a longshoreman and a union shop foreman from Romania.  His mother, the former Cissy Newmark, was from London. 

Mr. Gold’s family moved to New Orleans, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history from Tulane University.  He worked as a reporter for The Birmingham News in Alabama, and earned a law degree from the University of Alabama.

Mr. Gold served in the army during the Korean War, and afterwards joined the Washington public relations firm of Selvage & Lee, and then began his career of representing prominent office-seekers.

In addition to his daughter Paige, he is survived by his wife, the former Dale Solomon; another daughter, Jamie Gold; a son, Stephen; two grandchildren and a great-grandson.  He has numerous relatives in St. Louis, including a niece, Susan Dubinsky, and several members of the Newmark family.