Op-Ed: A Tale of Two Presidents
Jhelaine Palo | On 14, May 2018
On June 17, 1972, five burglars were arrested at the Watergate complex in Washington D.C., starting the domino effect of putting together, piece by piece, the corrupt operation of the administration of former President Richard Nixon.
All the President’s Men is a book that describes the journalistic journey of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. The journalists started working together from the Watergate scandal until the end of Nixon’s presidency, and everything in between. President Richard Nixon’s presidency was filled with falsified information and manipulative men who controlled the political system. In today’s time, President Donald Trump’s conduct, such as the abuse of power, exhibits an uncanny parallel to President Richard Nixon.
President Nixon’s campaign hired politicians to disrupt the Democratic campaign. In order to do so, people like Alex Shipley, an assistant attorney general of Tennessee, were asked to join the Nixon campaign and say they were “working for so-and-so in the Democrats, [but] really we’d be working for Nixon” (Shipley 114). On December 9, 2016, The Washington Post reported that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) determined that the Russian hacking was organized to uplift Trump and undermine his opponent, Secretary Hillary Clinton, during the presidential campaign. Despite the fact that it was never proven that Nixon knew in advance about his campaign’s schemes and has yet been proven that Trump had any prior knowledge about his campaign’s involvement with the Russian government, both of the administrations have been accused of scandalous dishonesty regarding their campaigns.
One person that was present throughout Nixon’s presidency was his press secretary, Ronald Ziegler, who consistently struggled answering questions asked by the press, when not completely denying any accusations. During a briefing, Ziegler was described as “a clearly uncomfortable presidential press secretary [who] declined 29 times to discuss the Post story” (145). Similarly, Sean Spicer was the former presidential press secretary of President Trump. When he was the press secretary, he had trouble dealing with President Trump’s inaccurate statements and tweets. Because of the social media platform Twitter, it has made it easier for Trump to release his thoughts. With just a few clicks on his phone, his words are exposed for the world to see.
Spicer admitted that “there were times where I screwed up” which led to his resignation. Both Ziegler and Spicer stood in front of many a press conference and struggled to answer with certainty. Ziegler could not fully deny the questions he was asked because there were sketchy activities that were truly happening. It can thus be concluded that reasonable doubt is present in today’s presidency due to the fact that the former press secretary struggled to answer similar press questions.
Fake News is a term that has been around for decades. However, President Donald Trump made the phrase “Fake News” a neologism present in every household in America. Trump asserts that any news coverage that states something negative about him is “fake news.” He established what is called the “Fake News Awards” which displays his constant criticism against journalists. Similarly, President Nixon once said “the press is your enemy” regarding Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Both Presidents Trump and Nixon have the same mentality about the media and journalists; their idea of it is of a negative outlook, and they constantly try to turn the public against people in the media and people in the journalism field.
There are a number of parallels between President Richard Nixon and President Donald Trump. Both Presidents have been involved in scandals such as the Watergate and the Russian involvement in the election. Because of the history that was embarked during Nixon’s presidency, it is understandable as to why the public is constantly expressing their concerns toward the current presidency of Donald Trump. It is important to be knowledgeable and up-to-date on the current issues and news regarding the president and his actions.