Charlie Kirk: Donald Trump Is No Richard Nixon | Opinion

With televised presidential politics dominating nearly every waking moment of Americans' daily lives, it seems appropriate to review a modest sampling of some of the most famous chief executive quotes of all time:

"Speak softly and carry a big stick." –Teddy Roosevelt

"Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." –John F. Kennedy

"The military industrial complex." –Dwight Eisenhower

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"The buck stops here." –Harry Truman

"Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation..." –Abraham Lincoln

FDR gets two entries on the list of those indelibly etched into our collective consciousness:

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"We have nothing to fear but fear itself."

"December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy."

Another line uttered by a president that is just as famous came in 1973 during the Watergate investigation:

"I am not a crook." –Richard Nixon

With impeachment being the lead story on practically every news source imaginable, it only makes sense that President Richard Nixon's name would be gaining increased mention next to President Donald Trump's. Drawing comparisons between the two by Democrats and the fake news media was basically inevitable, and they haven't disappointed.

Consider Representative Adam Schiff's closing statements at Thursday's congressional testimony:

"'No quid pro quo!' This is the 'I'm not a crook' defense.... What we've seen here is far more serious than a third-rate burglary of the Democratic headquarters. What we're talking about here is...the withholding of military aid to an ally at war. That is far beyond anything Nixon did."

This past weekend, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke in strikingly similar terms—almost as if reading from the same talking points memo—about the president on CBS' Face the Nation:

"[What Trump did] makes what Nixon did look almost small...I mean, what the president did was so much worse than even what Richard Nixon did, that at some point Richard Nixon cared about the country enough to recognize that this could not continue."

A quick recap: The impeachment process was launched against Nixon for being involved in orchestrating a cover-up of the Watergate break-in during the 1972 presidential campaign. Republican operatives, looking for dirt on Democrat strategist Larry O'Brien, and fearful that Senator Teddy Kennedy could get into the race and become a formidable challenger to Nixon's re-election, broke into Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex to plant surveillance devices. A badly placed piece of tape across a door lock led to the apprehension of the perps. The rest is Woodward and Bernstein history.

There is no evidence that President Nixon ordered or planned the break-in. What he was unquestionably involved in was the cover-up, proved by tape recordings he kept of conversations in the Oval Office. In July 1974, the Supreme Court ruled that Nixon had to turn over those tapes, thereby sealing his fate. Nixon resigned from office a few weeks later, facing overwhelming bipartisan pressure.

Throughout this entire impeachment proceeding, Speaker Pelosi and Representative Schiff have remained remarkably consistent in at least one regard: their willingness to repeat lies, contemporary or historical, over and again. They know that if they repeat their false Trump-Nixon comparisons enough times, they will eventually become embedded into the psyche of the American public, which is not paying close enough attention to the proceedings to tell fact from fiction.

So please allow me to clear up this nonsensical presidential parallel by pointing out the fundamental differences between President Nixon and President Trump:

  • The Nixon tapes proved he broke the law. The Trump transcript of his call with the Ukrainian president proved he didn't.
  • Nixon was involved in spying on his political opponents. Trump was the one who was spied on by his political opponents.
  • Nixon resigned when it became clear the effort to remove him from office was finally bipartisan. In Trump's case, the only thing bipartisan about it were the two House Democrats who voted against beginning impeachment proceedings.
  • Nixon was wrong to go after political opponents. Trump is obligated to investigate corruption of a nation receiving U.S. aid.

If Speaker Pelosi wants to compare President Trump to a past Republican president, she may be better served by invoking the memory of Ronald Reagan. He came to office vilified by Democrats, portrayed as a Hollywood phony and accused of being an intellectual lightweight, a war monger and someone who cared only about the rich with his "trickle down," supply-side economics. In fact, the only president in modern American history who came anywhere close to experiencing Trump's famously negative media coverage was President Reagan.

What did Reagan accomplish? He instigated and oversaw the collapse of the Soviet Union. He instituted major tax cuts that revitalized the American economy after years of Carter-induced malaise. He reinvigorated the spirit and the fighting capabilities of the American military. Finally, he made Americans feel great about being Americans again.

Sound familiar? Maybe that's because President Trump has overseen the destruction of ISIS. He accomplished historic tax cuts that have transformed the American economy into the envy of the world (during a global economic slowdown). He has taken a leadership role in funding and revitalizing the U.S. military by addressing long-neglected issues, especially the VA. Most of all, he has helped restore a fighting spirit in millions of Americans, leading them to believe that America can actually be great again.

Donald Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump makes his way to board Air Force One before departing from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on November 20. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty

Perhaps most important, he has done his best to slow the treacherous, 100-year-long ambitions of China, our greatest geopolitical foe. In the process, he has brought the red giant to its economic knees. It stark contrast to President Trump, it bears remembering that China's current might dates back to when President Nixon opened relations with that nation nearly 50 years ago. While he received praise at the time, Nixon's outreach to China has produced more than just cheap consumer goods. It has also allowed a hostile totalitarian nation to gain economic power and influence across the globe, while simultaneously building a very formidable and threatening military.

Is there any similarity between the two men?

Well, Madame Speaker, in the words of another famous president, "it depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is." Is it true they are both Republicans who have experienced the impeachment process?

Yes. But this is exactly where the similarities end.

Charlie Kirk is the founder and executive director of Turning Point USA, the nation's largest and fastest growing conservative youth organization with a presence on over 1,400 college and high school campuses; he is also host of The Charlie Kirk Show.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.

Charlie Kirk: Donald Trump Is No Richard Nixon | Opinion | Opinion