Trump Isn't Nixon – He's Worse

Roundup
tags: Nixon, Trump



John Aloysius Farrell is an award-winning Washington reporter and the author of "Clarence Darrow: Attorney For The Damned," "Tip O'Neill and the Democratic Century" and most recently the best-selling biography, "Richard Nixon: The Life." Follow him on Twitter: @jaloysius.

Richard Nixon's initial 120 days in office had its ugly moments. In his opening weeks as president his White House hired its first dirty tricksters, illicitly tapped a newsman's telephone and ordered the secret bombing of Cambodia, an act later included in the proposed articles of impeachment.

Yet in those same 120 days Nixon also launched his history-making gambit with China, opened a promising diplomatic channel with the Soviet Union, capably dealt with an environmental disaster – a massive oil spill off the California coastline – and appointed a domestic policy team that, working with a Congress ruled by Democrats, would compile a record most of his 20th and 21st century counterparts would envy.

Given the results of Donald Trump's first months in office, it's time to consider whether the rage of Nixon-Trump comparisons are unfair – to Richard Nixon.

Trump may yet turn things around. Bill Clinton, to cite one recent example, is a president who got off to a rocky start. Remember the BTU tax? Travelgate? Whitewater? (Don't feel bad. Neither does anyone else.) Yet Clinton managed to win a second term, defeat a partisan impeachment movement, and outfox the Javert-like special prosecutor, Kenneth Starr, and the baying hounds of the Washington press corps. 

Trump may yet clean house and hire a competent staff - led by a cool hand like Ronald Reagan had in James A. Baker, whose rule to disclose and cauterize any potential scandal in the first 48 hours Trump would be wise to emulate. The White House might yet get the legislative trains running on time, take advantage of Republican control of Congress, and persuade the new special counsel, Robert S. Mueller that the concern the president expressed over the investigation of Michael Flynn was purely humanitarian.

Or Trump may keep on being Trump. ...




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