In an interview with the New York Times Book Review Podcast, the estimable, erudite, and venerably ferret-faced George Will said Donald Trump has done more to unravel our republic and the office of the presidency than the disgraced Richard Nixon ever did.
I agree, and yet an overwhelming majority of Republicans still support the hairy Creamsicle.
“I believe that what this president has done to our culture, to our civic discourse … you cannot unring these bells and you cannot unsay what he has said, and you cannot change that he has now in a very short time made it seem normal for schoolboy taunts and obvious lies to be spun out in a constant stream. I think this will do more lasting damage than Richard Nixon's surreptitious burglaries did.”
Will's broader argument is that Nixon's coordinated burglaries at the Democratic National Committee were secret and, once revealed, broadly condemned by the public and the two political parties. What Trump is doing is happening right in front of our faces — and with the tacit assent of the Republican Party that Will left in 2016.
“What Donald Trump's revolutionary effect has been [is] to make things acceptable that were unthinkable until recently,” Will said on the Times podcast, asking host Pamela Paul if she could even conceive of past presidents like John Kennedy or Dwight Eisenhower uttering any of the many things Trump has said in office.
Will makes a good point.
I’m no fan of Nixon, but I’d rather see his bleached bones wheeled out to the podium Hannibal Lecter-style than sit through another gooey Salvador Dali-esque DJT State of the Union.
The chance that Nixon’s endoskeleton would inspire and unify the country is much higher than the chance that Trump would.
So George Will is right, obviously. This time. He won’t make a habit of it, though. You can count on that.
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