Nixon administration veterans and members of his foundation had little to say when approached by the Guardian
If Donald Trump could count on anyone for sympathy as his impeachment troubles mount, youd think it would be loyalists of the last Republican president to be charged with abusing the power of the Oval Office for political ends. Yet, in the two weeks since the House of Representatives started formally investigating the president, veterans of the Nixon administration have been notable only for their silence.
In fact, they have been about as willing to answer questions about impeachment now as they were when they were being dragged before House and Senate investigative committees at the height of the Watergate scandal.
The main keeper of the 37th presidents flame, the Richard Nixon Foundation, offered not one word for or against Trump when approached. A post-presidential chief of staff told the Guardian he was pretty much focused elsewhere. A former domestic policy aide who served on Nixons legal defense team refused to speak on the record even though he writes regular, highly opinionated pieces for conservative outlets that touch on impeachment, whistleblowers, special prosecutors and more.
An outspoken former Nixon speechwriter, Bruce Herschensohn, declared in an email: I believe in saving the possibility of impeachment for impeachable offenses as defined by the U.S. Founders and authors of the U.S. Constitution.
When asked, however, whether the allegation against Trump, subverting national security policy to search for dirt on his enemies, might constitute just such an impeachable offense, Herschensohn went silent.
Such skittishness is more bad news for Trump, since the Republican party as a whole is showing reluctance to speak up in his defense and, on the issue of withdrawing support from Kurds in Syria, a willingness to be openly critical.
The Nixon crowd can generally be counted on to be good Republican partisans, not least because the foundation, among others, relies on the party base to make donations, buy tickets to events, and otherwise contribute to the furtherance of Nixons memory. Recent invitees to foundation events in Yorba Linda, California, where Nixon was born, include the Fox News hosts Jeanine Pirro and Bret Baier, the former House speaker Newt Gingrich, and Trumps first supreme court appointee, Neil Gorsuch.