An eerie parallel: Trump speech will be held in close proximity to Nixon’s infamous 1973 ‘I’m not a crook’ speech

An eerie parallel: Trump speech will be held in close proximity to Nixon’s infamous 1973 ‘I’m not a crook’ speech
Richard Nixon via Mark Reinstein, Shutterstock

Although there are some major policy differences between President Donald Trump and the late President Richard Nixon, the Republican presidents also have many things in common — for example, a pseudo-populist appeal to white male rage and an administration plagued by scandal. And journalist Ed Mazza, in a November 1 article for HuffPost, notes another interesting Trump/Nixon parallel: Trump is planning a December 7 speech very close to one of Nixon’s infamous speeches.

Trump, according to News 13 (a local cable news channel in Central Florida), will be speaking on December 7 at a GOP fundraiser to be held at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort — which, Mazza observes, is “outside the Magic Kingdom and across the Seven Seas Lagoon from Disney’s Contemporary Resort, where Nixon delivered some of his most memorable words on November 17, 1973.”

It was on November 17, 1973 that a Watergate-plagued Nixon delivered his infamous “I’m not a crook” speech.

That day, Nixon declared, “I’ve made my mistakes. But in all of my years of public life, I have never profited — never profited, from public service. I’ve earned every cent. And in all of my years of public life, I have never obstructed justice.”

Nixon went on to say, “I welcome this kind of examination, because people have got to know whether or not their president’s a crook. Well, I’m not a crook. I’ve earned everything I’ve got.”

By 2019 standards, Nixon — who was considered an arch conservative right-winger in his day — could be considered too liberal for the Republican Party. While Trump has tried to take health care away from millions of Americans, Nixon pushed for universal health care. And while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) started under Nixon, Trump’s environmental record is abysmal. Yet for all their policy differences, one thing Trump definitely has in common with Nixon is a tendency to paint himself as the victim when being faced with scandal after scandal.

Following Nixon’s “I’m not a crook” speech, the Watergate scandal only became worse and worse for Nixon — who announced his resignation on August 8, 1974. And the following day, Vice President Gerald R. Ford (another conservative who would be way too moderate for 2019’s GOP) was sworn in as president of the United States.

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