If the White House is haunted – Churchill allegedly saw Lincoln’s ghost when he stepped out of the tub – then there is reason to argue that Richard Nixon’s ghost is whispering in Donald Trump’s ear, as Trump seems to be taking his playbook straight from Tricky Dick. Perhaps this explains the chilling similarities between Watergate and Russiagate as the 43rd anniversary of Nixon’s resignation on August 8 approaches.
Watergate gave us the lazy media habit of attaching a “door” to even the most prosaic wrongdoing, from Billygate, when Jimmy Carter’s hapless brother got hired to represent Libya, on the Epic List from the Clintonian gates, from Filegate and Travelgate to Pardongate and Troopergate, not to mention the seemingly quaint and exciting simplicity of Zippergate (or, to some, Monicagate).
Beyond a simple suffix connecting Russiagate to Watergate, what does Trump’s White House have in common with that of Richard Nixon?
Nixon and Trump were both resentful and insecure, with Nixon still in turmoil over media adulation of John F. Kennedy and Trump continually questioning his (Electoral College only) victory over Hillary Clinton. Trump tweets accusations of “Fake news!” in the national media, while Nixon sent his vice president, Spiro T. Agnew, to attack journalists with the much more alliterative “flattering moguls of negativism”.
Dig a little deeper, however, and more disturbing echoes of Watergate ring through the Russiagate:
Victory through foreign interference: Whether or not the Trump campaign colludes with Russian interests, the campaign has at least benefited from what national security agencies are calling Russian attempts to influence the election with inflammatory online reports targeting Hillary Clinton. All of this, however, is a cakewalk compared to the foreign influence that the 1968 Nixon campaign mustered.
According to recently uncovered documents, during the 1968 presidential campaign, Nixon asked his close associate HR Haldeman to “twist the monkey” at the Paris peace talks to end the Vietnam War, fearing that a negotiation successful campaign to end the bloody and extremely unpopular conflict. of the Democratic presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey.
Thanks to anti-Communist ties with China, Nixon’s campaign encouraged South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu to resist the peace effort because Nixon would make a better deal with Thieu. According to the Nixon Estate notes discovered by John A. Farrell in “Richard Nixon: The Life,” one of Nixon’s middlemen promised the South Vietnamese ambassador, “Wait, we’re going to win.”
Everyone must have Stone: If there is anything that points to a dark and malicious strain of Republican DNA running through both Operations Nixon and Trump, it is Roger Stone’s complete loyalty to the two men.
Stone started out as a low-level dirty planner and crook in Nixon’s White House, but maintains that he had nothing to do with Watergate-related activities and, anyway, the whole Watergate crisis was a setting. up by the CIA and others, Stone claims. Nonetheless, a stint on Senator Robert Dole’s staff was cut short when Stone’s campaign dirty tricks were exposed during Congressional hearings in 1973.
Stone transformed his cult of Nixon – he sports a large tattoo on the back of the 37th President – into a career as a Republican staff member and leader of Youth for Reagan (where he met Trump’s mentor Roy Cohn) . Stone later became a lobbyist, founding his own business with prospective Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and the late Republican strategist Lee Atwater.
Stone formed an anti-Hillary Clinton PAC called Citizens United Not Timid (fancy acronym, right?) During the 2008 primary season, including a website offering T-shirts with a logo resembling the crotch of a female, according to Mother Jones. How to get past that, unless he becomes a Trump campaign advisor and encourages Trump to hire Manafort as a campaign manager, which Stone did as well.
Stone claimed to have communicated directly or indirectly with Wikileaks during Hackergate (there is still this suffix), the phishing expedition that produced the stolen emails from the Clinton campaign.
Stone and Manafort have reportedly already turned over documents to the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of its investigation into foreign interference in the presidential election, a congressional investigation that would appear to close the circle of Russiagate with the Watergate scandal.
The smoking guns: Nixon’s smoking gun was his own words on White House tapes as he ordered the FBI to drop its investigation into the heist at Democratic National Headquarters. When the Watergate committee members heard this, there was no longer a question, “What did the chairman know and when did he find out?”
In the case of the Russiagate, the first of what could be several smoking guns was fired by Donald Trump’s own son, Donald Jr., who saw no problem getting filth on Hilary Clinton allegedly from the Russian government. -even. “I love it,” he replied in an email.
The lesson here is that leaving your kids alone around loaded guns – even figuratively smoking – always ends in disaster. In this case, a game of Russian roulette.
A family matter: Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, is his special assistant with permission from the White House who replaces him at G20 meetings, while her son holds secret meetings with Russian “agents” whom he forgets to mention in his report. asks for security (just like his sister and brother-in-law). -law in their own applications).
In this area, Trump definitely has Tricky Dick, whose daughters were limited to just making diversions for Dad during the Watergate months. Nixon used poor Tricia Nixon Cox’s wedding in the White House as a smokescreen in June 1971. It didn’t work.
But it was Julie Nixon Eisenhower who became a role model for Ivanka Trump. When Pat Nixon couldn’t face the press, Julie worked in the room so often that it prompted reporter Nora Ephron to remark: “In the months following the Watergate hearings, she became the first lady. of his father in practice if not in fact.
Julie Nixon Eisenhower gave 138 impressive press conferences defending her father during the Watergate scandal, some just after she recovered from the removal of an ovarian cyst. Meanwhile, Ivanka Trump is still recovering from the withdrawal of her clothing line from several retailers.
This press officer is no longer operational: The Friday resignation of White House press secretary Sean Spicer after his best attempts to stammer, evade and rant through his televised press briefings at least spares “Spicey” the prolonged unrest endured by the spokesperson without humor by Nixon Ronald Ziegler. Ziegler memorably denounced the Watergate break-in as “a burglary of the third order”, ridiculed the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment inquiry as a “kangaroo court” and hit hard times. peaks of language abuse by stating that Nixon’s false statements operative. “
Now that Spicer is on the hunt for a job, he may want to apply his considerable skills in storytelling events in a fictional alternate universe by applying to one of Ziegler’s concerts before the White House: A Tour Guide on the “Jungle Cruise” ride to Disneyland.
In the meantime, we’re all waiting for fired FBI Director James Comey to land a book deal while wondering exactly which White House staff are next on the wait for unemployment, whether it’s the Attorney General. ” besieged “Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, or Special Advocate Robert Mueller.
If Trump’s version of the Nixon Saturday Night Massacre – which refers to Nixon’s orders to fire Independent Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox – comes true, it won’t just be another bizarre parallel between Watergate and Russiagate, but also a blameless obstruction of justice, offering even more evidence that the 45th president is channeling the malevolent spirit of the 37th, with the specter of Nixon still bitterly defending his illegal actions as he whispers in Trump’s ear: “When the president fact, that means it’s not illegal. “
Commentary from Journalists Brian O’Connor and Lori Perkins. Their book, “Everything You Wanted to Know About Watergate * (But Were Afraid to Ask) will be published on August 8 by Riverdale Avenue Books.
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