Former Nixon White House Counselor John Dean has been an outspoken critic of President-elect Donald Trump, and he thinks that Trump is already vastly more corrupt than his former boss ever was.
In a new interview with The Atlantic, Dean explains that his former boss actually had a sense of restraint when it came to checking his worst impulses that Trump completely lacks.
“I used to have one-on-one conversations with [Nixon] where I’d see him checking his more authoritarian tendencies,” Dean tells The Atlantic. “He’d say, ‘This is something I can’t say out loud…’ or, ‘That is something the president can’t do.'”
Trump, in contrast, has made his name by flouting norms and constraints, and there’s no reason to think that he’ll tone things down now that he’s been rewarded with the power of the presidency.
“Hang on when Trump and his crew fully appreciate the extraordinary powers they will have — it is not only going to be thrilling, but dangerous,” Dean warns. “I don’t think Richard Nixon even comes to close to the level of corruption we already know about Trump.”
That said, Dean believes Trump will largely skate without any consequences for the assorted scandals he will incur, and that accountability will only come if American voters toss Republicans out of power in the 2018 elections. Given how Trump was still elected despite the infamous Access Hollywood video where he bragged about committing sexual assault, Dean says mass backlash against him is no certainty.
“The Trump campaign is an interesting measure of how high the tolerance has gotten for a public figure’s misbehavior,” Dean tells The Atlantic.