For two years, this writer has been consumed by two subjects.
First, the presidency of Richard Nixon, in whose White House I served from its first day to its last, covered in my new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”
The second has been the astonishing campaign of Donald Trump and his first 100-plus days as president.
In many ways, the two men could not have been more different.
Trump is a showman, a performer, a real estate deal-maker, born to wealth, who revels in the material blessings his success has brought. Nixon, born to poverty, was studious, reserved, steeped in history, consumed with politics and policy, and among the most prepared men ever to assume the presidency.
Yet the “mess” Trump inherited bears striking similarities to Nixon’s world in 1969.
Both took office in a nation deeply divided.
Nixon’s White House Wa…
Nixon was elected in a year marked by the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, race riots in 100 cities, and street battles between cops and radicals at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
By the fall of 1969, Nixon had buses surrounding his White House and U.S. Airborne troops in the basement of his Executive Office Building.
Trump’s campaign and presidency have also been marked by huge and hostile demonstrations.
Both men had their elections challenged by the toxic charge that they colluded with foreign powers to influence the outcome.
Nixon’s aides were accused of conspiring with Saigon to torpedo Lyndon Johnson’s Paris peace talks. Trump aides were charged with collusion with Vladimir Putin’s Russia to disseminate stolen emails of the Democratic National…