“I welcome this kind of examination because people have got to know whether their president is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook.”
The infamous “I’m not a crook” speech was delivered 44 years ago, by President Richard Nixon in the White House, at a time when the nation was midst of the Watergate scandal.
The United States was in crisis. Distrust of the highest office continued to mount as more damaging news came out about Nixon and his “dirty tricks.” The United States could not effectively focus on other domestic or foreign problems due to the deep suspicion around the President and the White House.
It was clear that United States politics had changed forever. Americans began to look at the government in a much different way. Elected officials became cloaked in an aura of “dishonesty.” While the United States seemed to move on from the scandal, there were more scandals in the years following the Watergate scandal.
There was the Iran-Contra Affair under President Reagan. There was the infamous “Lewinskygate” and Whitewater scandals during the Clinton Presidency. There was also the scandal concerning “weapons of mass destruction” under President George W. Bush.
And now, there is the Donald Trump-Russia probe.
Once again, the nation finds itself deep in a crisis.
Trump’s election in the fall of 2016 had already caused a big divide in the United States. This divide only widened after Donald Trump took executive and legislative actions. First, there was the controversial travel ban. Then, there was also the very unpopular healthcare bill. There appears to be much doubt about Trump’s policies. Americans wonder whether his controversial, and even border-line offensive campaign, is a sign of more things to come.
The reality is, we might never find what four years under President Trump will be like. We might never know if he will be able to effectuate any of his policies or if his policies are successful. Due to increasingly disturbing information about Trump’s possible ties to Russia, it is uncertain whether he will be able to serve out his full term. While the investigation of Trump’s ties with Russia is ongoing, it seems that the White House lawyers have already started researching possible impeachment process.
Talks of impeachment gained traction after Trump’s recent firing of FBI Director James Comey and Trump’s revealing of classified intelligence information to Russian officials in the Oval Office. This is, of course, not Trump’s first connection to Russia, as accusations of him colluding with the Russians and Russia’s interference in the 2016 Election have been growing for months.
Trump’s current situation seems eerily similar to the situation that Richard Nixon was in during the Watergate scandal.
Like Nixon, Trump has also proclaimed his innocence and honesty. Trump has echoed words similar to those used by Nixon, claiming that the ongoing investigation was “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history.” Oddly enough, Nixon described the Senate Watergate Hearings as a “witch hunt” as well.
Just like Nixon, Trump is extremely paranoid of the media, and seems to be convinced that Washington D.C. and the media are against him.
However, while there are parallels between the two Presidents’ situations, upon a closer inspection, the situations are vastly different.
President Nixon, while flawed, was in many ways, a successful president. Before the Watergate scandal, Nixon had successfully developed the policy of detente, signed the Paris Peace Accords, visited China, and effectively supported Israel during its Yom Kippur War. He had established himself as a competent leader, and he easily won the 1972 Presidential Election. In the end, Nixon’s paranoia brought him down. Even though he had put the nation through a crisis during the Watergate years, he did have some great accomplishments.
Donald Trump, however, does not have the luxury of “accomplishments.”
With just a little over 100 days in office, Trump has yet to accomplish anything substantial, and he has no real significant accomplishments to date. Because of his short time in office, if impeachment or removal proceedings were to be successful, Trump would not be able to speak of any real accomplishments, like Nixon did in his resignation speech with foreign policy, simply because he has had no time to do anything.
Both presidents had to deal with the investigation of illegal interference with their election, yet oddly enough, Trump is the only one that had to be concerned about losing the election. The majority of polls heading into the 2016 election stated that Hillary Clinton was extremely likely to win. Nixon, on the other hand, was predicted to easily win the election, which he ended up winning by a landslide.
As stated earlier, the White House is currently in a state of emergency.
The Trump administration has had a devastating week, climaxing with Trump’s suspicious firing of FBI Director Comey.
Trump’s comments to Russian officials about Comey added fuel to the fire when Trump stated that Comey was a “nut job” and that with Comey’s firing, “pressure faced from Russia was now taken off.”
Today, Trump boarded a jet to start off a nine-day Middle Eastern tour, which begins in Saudi Arabia. As for now, we must await more information. Until a full investigation is completed, impeachment callings are premature. At this point in time, impeachment could prove to be fruitless, especially with the Republican controlled Congress supporting Trump.
However, once the smoke clears and Trump is proven to be innocent, American citizens must recognise that, even if they do not agree with him, they must give President Trump a chance to effectuate policies and have a successful presidency. After all, he was elected by American voters to do just that.