Nixon was a crook. That cannot be disputed at this point. His scandalous conduct during his campaign for re-election gave the country a black eye.
Time will tell if Trump is a crook. If he’s innocent, he’s certainly good at acting like he’s not. Either way, he’s giving the country a black eye.
Today, after the firing of FBI director James Comey, everyone is drawing the obvious comparisons between President Nixon and President Trump, but let’s be honest with ourselves. The two are not really comparable.
First of all, President Trump has had five draft deferments, no military service and referred to his own promiscuity as “my personal Vietnam.” Nixon, though a birthright Quaker who could have gotten out of military service, served in the Navy during World War Two. At first he was stationed in Iowa, but he requested sea duty and was moved to the South Western Pacific Theater; by the time of his retirement, he had been promoted to the rank of commander.
Secondly, President Trump has had no government experience whatsoever. He’s a trust fund baby and a businessman who managed to declare bankruptcy six times; he couldn’t even keep a casino in Atlantic City open for a year. Nixon, however, before his presidency, served as a representative and senator from California, and also as the Vice President of the United States.
Finally– Watergate is not comparable to what’s going on now. Nixon’s original crime was an act of paranoia. He had some of his opponents’ campaign offices broken into and wiretapped, even though he was expected to win for the entire election cycle. Definitely a crime, serious business, and he deserved what happened when it was discovered. He deserved a lot worse than he got.
If the allegations against President Trump prove true– if the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in order to rig the 2016 election in his own favor– that is not a crime on the level of burglary and wiretapping. That’s not a humiliating act of paranoia. That is an act of treason. Treason carries a possible death penalty; it’s a completely different issue than burglary. Watergate, compared to the alleged collusion of Trump with Russia, is a pantie raid. The United States recovered from Watergate. I don’t know what we’ll do with this.
Don’t let anyone convince you that the Trump Russia scandal is Watergate. This scandal makes Watergate look like a harmless prank. If the allegations against him prove true, Trump won’t go down in history as another Nixon; he’ll be closer to Benedict Arnold.
But at least we escaped electing a presidential candidate who deleted her emails.
Come to think of it, Hillary and Nixon would have been a much fairer comparison.
(Photo of the resignation of Richard Nixon via Wikimedia Commons)