Whoops! Nixon was a Lot Smarter than Trump

My mistake. I apologize. Just yesterday, I posted an entry under the title, “Trump is no Different from Nixon.” This was a false claim. Silly me.

Even when I wrote that post, we knew that the Donald had hosted two high level Russian officials in the Oval Office, allowing in the Russian press, but not the U.S. press. This is not an entirely fair comparison, because during Nixon’s entire time as President, the U.S. was still locked in the cold war with what was then still the Soviet Union. To state what should be obvious, the Soviet Union has now collapsed and Trump gets to deal with Russia. But this is a very subtle, perhaps inconsequential distinction, because the current President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, whom Trump is widely suspected of being in thrall to, worked in the notorious KGB under the Soviets before becoming President, then Prime Minister, then President again, of Russia. By some accounts, the cold war never ended. Russians have long had an inferiority complex relative to the west, which manifests, among other ways, as a sort of hyper competitiveness.

Regardless, the key point is that Richard Nixon, for all his flaws, was deeply fascinated with foreign policy — indeed, it is what he most wanted to focus on as President — and would never have revealed any sensitive information to foreign officials from anywhere during a visit to the Oval Office.

Former Reagan staffer Bruce Bartlett, in March, tweeted that Trump was like Nixon at his nadir, minus 50 IQ points. I was wrong to say that Trump is no different from Nixon. He’s far, far worse.

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