A journalist who covered Watergate sees parallels between President Donald Trump’s current unraveling and the downfall of Richard Nixon. Even more disturbing are the parallels drawn between President Trump’s mental state and that of the Las Vegas gunman.
The Las Vegas shooter didn’t leave any clues as to why he opened fire, Lucian K. Truscott IV wrote in Salon. He suggested similar was true for President Trump’s public threats on Twitter, failed disaster response in Puerto Rico, and self-destruction of the Affordable Care Act.
“He left no clues. Nothing is known about why he is acting in such an insane way against his fellow American citizens,” Truscott wrote. “Aided and abetted by a lax Congress and the voters of the states that put him in office, he is able to carry off his crazed, deadly rampage with impunity.”
Like Nixon, Donald Trump’s White House is described as “embattled” or “in chaos” by the press.
“I covered Watergate, and I remember when Haig took over as chief of staff. We had no way of knowing what was going on in the White House,” Truscott reminded, of the pre-Twitter 1970s. “The behavior of Nixon during his bizarre trip to the Lincoln Memorial leaked only because a few students who were there talked to reporters. Nancy Dickerson’s diagnosis of Nixon as half-crazed wouldn’t be revealed until she told Anthony Summers about it years later. In the meantime, all we heard were whispers and rumors.”
The so-called “smoking gun tape” finally revealed Nixon’s unraveling.
“With Nixon, the unraveling was happening behind closed doors. We knew — the media knew, the Congress knew, members of his own party knew — he was crazy as a loon and guilty as hell, but we didn’t learn the full extent of it until much, much later. But when we caught a glimpse of the man as he really was on the tapes, it was shocking, even terrifying,” Truscott explained. “That this man was the president! That this man had access to the nuclear trigger! Something had to be done.”
“With Trump, the unraveling is happening right out in the open, every single day, several times a day,” Truscott suggested. “The fact that it’s happening before our eyes in real time has rendered his insanity and criminality somehow ordinary.”
If Watergate is a guide, it may take one major mistake by President Trump to remove him from office prior to his term ending in January of 2021.
“What will happen with Trump? If past is prologue, and I think it definitely is with him, he will reach a point where his arrogance combines with his rage and he makes a big mistake,” Truscott predicted. “What will happen this time? Well, the Russia investigation is squeezing Trump and his White House tighter and tighter. There were rumblings all last week on editorial pages and by talking heads on cable TV about the 25th Amendment and what it would take to use that nifty little Constitutional trick to rid ourselves of Trump.”
In concluding, Truscott returned to the Las Vegas massacre, which was the worst mass shooting in modern history.
“We’ve seen the damage one well-armed madman can do from a hotel room in Las Vegas. We really don’t need to see what an even better armed madman can do from the ‘adult day care center’ in the White House, do we?”
Nixon and Trump are much more alike than I had thought – with one big difference.
— Lucian K Truscott IV (@LucianKTruscott) October 14, 2017