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"The whole environment has become much more oppressive."
Lessons from Nixonland
Welcome back to Nixonland: After four decades, the Oval Office is once again the seat of empire, occupied by a paranoid pilot hellbent on an unremittingly personal fight, and no holds are barred.
Between US Presidents 37 and 45, Richard Nixon and Donald Trump, the links of language and temperament are getting uncannily close—their political predicaments, too. Even beyond the Saturday Night Massacre parallels and the rising calls for impeachment, there are other points of comparisons.
Both Trump and Nixon, for instance, refer to their stalwart base using the same title: the silent majority. Both presidents also share a certain adversarial view of the political press. Trump has called the media his opposition. Nixon made them his enemies. For the benefit of Henry Kissinger and others on his staff, Nixon—inadvertently taping himself—turned his sentiments into a sort of prose poem:
The press is the enemyThe press is the enemyThe press is the enemyThe establishment is the enemyThe professors are the enemyThe professors are the enemyWrite that on a blackboard 100 timesAnd never forget it….
Author, former speech-writer for President Nixon, and former conservative presidential candidate.
Investigative reporter, pundit, and co-founder of The Intercept.
Commentator and author of Richard Nixon: The Life.
Historian of U.S. history at Yale and author of The Day Wall Street Exploded, currently working on a biography of J. Edgar Hoover.