As the phony, scandal-ridden administration of Donald Trump continues to unravel, historians and political pundits find more and more parallels between the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and previous national disgrace Richard Nixon.

Trump’s lies-driven presidency is disintegrating in front of a nation that wishes the national nightmare in Washington ends without further damage.

Michael Gerson of The Washington Post calls it “fractured politics.”  It is much more that.  America itself is broken and we have a shortage of the honorable men and women who arose in the early 1970s to bring down Nixon and his cabal.

Writes Gerson:

The Trump era offers many such examples of life imitating melodrama. Recently, the New York Times reported that this past spring President Trump pressured then-White House counsel Donald McGahn to push the Justice Department to start a criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton and James B. Comey. (McGahn, to his credit, warned that such an action could lead to impeachment.) Other reports indicate that Trump repeatedly asked Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein and Matthew G. Whitaker, who was then chief of staff to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, how the Justice Department was progressing in its investigation of Clinton.

The examples pile up. Remember that Trump — knowing that his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had lied to the FBI — allegedly asked the then-director of the FBI, Comey, not to prosecute Flynn and to say publicly that Trump himself wasn’t under investigation. When Comey resisted, Trump fired him. Then the president asked Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and Adm. Michael S. Rogers, then the director of the National Security Agency, to publicly affirm that there was no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. (They, to their credit, did not comply.)

All this is Nixonian by any measure. Both Trump and Nixon share the same ideology of power — a belief that, because their enemies are ruthless, they must be more ruthless still. Both men share an obsession with hidden enemies that actually produces more hidden enemies. And both men share a view of the executive branch involving the total subservience of every public official who reports to the president.

Historian Mark Updegrove, in an interview with Hill.TV, says comparing Trump to Nixon is not fair to Nixon.

“Nixon is a complicated character,” suggests Updegrove, CEO of the LBJ Foundation in Austin, Texas. “But you have to remember Nixon was incredibly experienced before he came into office.”

He adds:

He knew the way the government worked and he had an incredible intellectual curiosity. Nixon was a congressman, he was a senator, he was vice president for Eisenhower for eight years, he was the Republican nominee in 1960, failed, then lost to John F. Kennedy before becoming president himself in 1968.

Undegrove argues that Nixon’s record of public service — even a record that is questionable — puts even the only president to resign in pubic disgrace above the pitiful actions of a double-talking real estate shyster and former “reality show” host.

Trump’s incompetence, lack of knowledge and brazen dishonesty, painfully illustrates what happens when a con man gets elected to the highest office in our land by a minority of voters.

Those who have watched, assisted and covered presidents in this nation says Trump is melting down at an increasingly and shameful display of mental madness.

Let’s hope it escalates and continues without destroying our way of life.

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Copyright © 2018 Capitol Hill Blue

3 COMMENTS

  1. Trump is behaving like the classic coward/bully. He has no compunction, no remorse for those weaker than him; witness the tear gassing of asylum seekers. But he longs to be as feared as Putin’s enemies do and he longs for the public reverence the Kim demands and receives from his people. So Trump will suck up to them in an attempt to be more like them. And now he is jealous of MbS for his killing of a journalist that was causing embarrassment.

  2. Psychotherapists like me know what happens when previously functional psycholigcal defenses no long work for an individual. Trump’s world is crumbling around him but since one of his major defsense is also one of the most primative. It is denial. This is an unconscious mechanism where the existence of unpleasant internal or external realities is denied and kept out of conscious awareness. By keeping the stressors out of consciousness, they are prevented from causing anxiety. With Trump, whose entire self-image is based on a series of narcissistic self-deceptions and lies to himself, when the harsh reality hits him that he is no longer able to bend people to his will, my duty to warn psychotherapists and I have speculated about his having a total break with reality whch would be diagnosed as an acute psyhotic episode.

    It could be so blatant with florid symptoms, possibly extreme paranoia since he has already demonstrated these tendencies, that nobody could ignore the fact that he had to be removed by the 25th Amendment.

    We know that in the final days of Nixon’s presidency when he saw his world collapsing he drank heavily and at times lost touch with reality. Consider, Nixon was never considered by the majority of the mental health profession to have a mental illness that precuded his being president.

    Hal Brown, MSW
    Duty to Warn therapist

  3. It’s worth noting that what really brought President Nixon down was what he did to get re-elected.

    Note that what he did was successful; he was re-elected, and only then impeached.

    I would not put it past President Donald J. Trump and his friends to “pull out all the stops” to see that he does get re-elected, and given their typical blundering incompetence that it be exposed beyond a reasonable doubt as a massive pack of felonies.

    Who knows – they might even profit. See where G. Gordon Liddy went.

    Jon

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