search
Sections List
American Journal News

Trump and Nixon have more in common than just dodging taxes

Tax scandals plagued both men, but there are more than superficial similarities between the two disgraced White House occupants.

By Donna Provencher - September 28, 2020
Share
Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s tax returns are the talk of the town, and news outlets and the Twittersphere are humming with comparisons to another White House occupant plagued by tax scandals: Richard Nixon.

“‘People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook,’ Nixon said,” tweeted Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell on Monday. “The comment wasn’t about Watergate, but rather funny business in his tax returns.”

A New York Times exposé published Sunday revealed that Trump’s billionaire persona is largely a myth. Instead, Trump’s financial records show massive debt, bumbling business dealings, and a penchant for avoiding taxes.

The kicker: Donald Trump paid no taxes at all in 10 of the past 15 years, and only paid only $750 in federal income taxes during both the year he was elected and his first year in the White House.

Trump claimed that in those years his financial losses surpassed his gains, but his ongoing feud with the IRS about whether a $72.9 million tax refund he claimed is legitimate potentially speaks otherwise.

Other troubling details emerged in the Times report, including a questionable tax write-off for a family retreat mansion and unexplained claims that his expenses at one New Jersey property increased fivefold between 2016 and 2017.

Trump is the first presidential candidate to refuse to release his tax returns after the custom began with former President Richard M. Nixon in 1973.

In news that shook the political sphere 47 years ago this week, the Providence Journal reported that Nixon paid just $792.81 in taxes in 1970 and $878.03 in 1971.

He agreed to release his tax returns, noting that “the confidentiality of my private finances is far less important to me than the confidence of the American people in the integrity of the president.”

Audits by the IRS and Joint Committee on Taxation followed, determining Nixon owed $471,431 in back taxes — and that he’d taken huge and questionable deductions, including $576,000 upon donating his vice-presidential papers to the National Archives and backdating it so it wouldn’t be illegal for him to do claim the deduction.

Edward Morgan, a former White House lawyer, later took the heat and pled guilty to preparing the fraudulent document, spending four months in prison and 20 months on probation. Two other preparers were indicted as well, but Nixon was never charged by the IRS.

The similarities between Trump and Nixon go beyond their questionable tax returns, however.

Both shared a passionate hatred of the media. Trump has notoriously called the press the “enemy of the people” and dubbed its offerings as “fake news.” The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, a research engine monitoring attacks on the press, has unearthed 2,000 negative remarks by Trump on Twitter about journalists since 2015 — attacks that have only escalated during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Committee to Protect Journalists reported this year that these comments have discredited the media to the American people, with 62% thinking reports of COVID-19 were overblown.

Nixon, too, waged war on the press. After losing the White House to John F. Kennedy in 1970, he called a news conference to fume, “You won’t have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore!”

He famously told his press secretary that “no reporter from the Washington Post is ever to be in the White House again.” And during his presidency, he ordered major investigations of several journalists and added some to a public enemies list.

Both, too, had crooks and con artists in their inner circle. Nine of Nixon’s allies were imprisoned for a total of more than 100 months, including Attorney General John Mitchell, campaign operative G. Gordon Liddy, and former White House counsel Chuck Colson.

Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, was charged with defrauding Trump supporters. Roger Stone, another Trump friend and adviser, was convicted of lying under oath about Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election. Michael Flynn, a Trump national security adviser, pled guilty to lying to the FBI about dealings with the Russian ambassador before the election. Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty of tax fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy charges. Trump former lawyer Michael Cohen is serving a three-year sentence for payments to silence women accusing Trump of sexual assault. The list goes on.

And, of course, Trump and Nixon were both notorious misogynists.

Trump has been accused of 26 women of sexual misconduct. During the election he repeatedly mocked opponent Hillary Clinton in sexist terms, noting that “if [she] were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5 percent of the vote.”

Several women also accused Nixon of sexual misconduct, and in the 1950 Senate race he derided Democratic opponent Helen Douglas as the “Pink Lady” for alleged Communist sympathies, noting she was “pink right down to her underwear.”

The similarities the two men share may be unsurprising, given that they enjoyed a decade-long friendship and correspondence.

“I think that you are one of the country’s great men, and it was an honor to spend an evening with you,” Trump wrote to Nixon in June 1982, less than eight years after Watergate. He urged Nixon to move to Trump Tower.

In 1993, he wrote to Nixon: “You are a great man and I have had and always will have the utmost respect and admiration for you. I am proud to know you.”

White House Counsel John Dean, who served during Watergate, said the two picked up “waves of each other’s personalities.”

“These are two authoritarian personalities who would have a natural affinity for each other,” Dean said.

As for the disgraced “tricky Dick,” he was a huge fan of Donald Trump.

In 1987, he wrote to Trump, noting that his wife Pat “is an expert on politics.”

“She predicts that whenever you decide to run for office, you will be a winner,” Nixon told him.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


Read More
Biden campaign launches new ad focused on Affordable Care Act

Biden campaign launches new ad focused on Affordable Care Act

By Kim Lyons, Pennsylvania Capital-Star - May 08, 2024
Trump leaves door open to banning medication abortion nationwide

Trump leaves door open to banning medication abortion nationwide

By Jennifer Shutt, States Newsroom - April 30, 2024
Biden on abortion rights: President expects to give speech Tuesday on new Florida 6-week ban

Biden on abortion rights: President expects to give speech Tuesday on new Florida 6-week ban

By Mitch Perry, Florida Phoenix - April 22, 2024
Biden calls for expanded child tax credit, taxes on wealthy in $7.2 trillion budget plan

Biden calls for expanded child tax credit, taxes on wealthy in $7.2 trillion budget plan

By Jennifer Shutt, States Newsroom - March 11, 2024
Biden rallies Democrats in Las Vegas: ‘Imagine the nightmare’ if Trump reelected

Biden rallies Democrats in Las Vegas: ‘Imagine the nightmare’ if Trump reelected

By April Corbin Girnus, Nevada Current - February 05, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
AJ News
Latest
Republican Bernie Moreno’s rags-to-riches story exposed as a lie

Republican Bernie Moreno’s rags-to-riches story exposed as a lie

By Jesse Valentine - May 24, 2024
What happens to clinics after a state bans abortion? They fight to survive.

What happens to clinics after a state bans abortion? They fight to survive.

By Chabeli Carrazana and Shefali Luthra - May 22, 2024
Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte took job at Caterpillar after tax fraud probe

Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte took job at Caterpillar after tax fraud probe

By Jesse Valentine - May 21, 2024
Alabama OB-GYN residencies dropped over 20% after Dobbs, state abortion ban, says analysis

Alabama OB-GYN residencies dropped over 20% after Dobbs, state abortion ban, says analysis

By Alander Rocha, Alabama Reflector - May 21, 2024
House GOP celebrates National Police Week while pushing to defund local law enforcement

House GOP celebrates National Police Week while pushing to defund local law enforcement

By Jesse Valentine - May 16, 2024
Evolution denier Mark Robinson could reshape North Carolina’s education system

Evolution denier Mark Robinson could reshape North Carolina’s education system

By Jesse Valentine - May 16, 2024
Republican Jay Ashcroft backs anti-abortion clinics that push lies and disinformation

Republican Jay Ashcroft backs anti-abortion clinics that push lies and disinformation

By Jesse Valentine - May 14, 2024
Republican Sam Brown’s assault on teacher unions could backfire

Republican Sam Brown’s assault on teacher unions could backfire

By Jesse Valentine - May 09, 2024
Florida abortion ban puts GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s anti-choice views in spotlight

Florida abortion ban puts GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s anti-choice views in spotlight

By Jesse Valentine - May 07, 2024
Trump leaves door open to banning medication abortion nationwide

Trump leaves door open to banning medication abortion nationwide

By Jennifer Shutt, States Newsroom - April 30, 2024
Republican Caroleene Dobson wants Alabama abortion ban to go nationwide

Republican Caroleene Dobson wants Alabama abortion ban to go nationwide

By Jesse Valentine - April 30, 2024
Ohio Gov. DeWine said he didn’t know of millions in FirstEnergy support. Is it plausible?

Ohio Gov. DeWine said he didn’t know of millions in FirstEnergy support. Is it plausible?

By Marty Schladen, Ohio Capital Journal - April 29, 2024
GOP Rep. Zach Nunn suggests laws against hate crime aren’t needed

GOP Rep. Zach Nunn suggests laws against hate crime aren’t needed

By Jesse Valentine - April 15, 2024
GOP Senate candidate Hung Cao blames racial equity for Baltimore bridge tragedy

GOP Senate candidate Hung Cao blames racial equity for Baltimore bridge tragedy

By Jesse Valentine - March 29, 2024
GOP Rep. Jennifer Kiggans donates thousands to far-right extremists

GOP Rep. Jennifer Kiggans donates thousands to far-right extremists

By Jesse Valentine - March 08, 2024
Ohio senate candidate Bernie Moreno: “Absolute pro-life no exceptions.”

Ohio senate candidate Bernie Moreno: “Absolute pro-life no exceptions.”

By Jesse Valentine - March 07, 2024
Anti-China Republicans pocket thousands from Chinese owned conglomerate

Anti-China Republicans pocket thousands from Chinese owned conglomerate

By Jesse Valentine - March 04, 2024
Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

By Jesse Valentine - February 26, 2024
Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

By Jesse Valentine - February 09, 2024
Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

By Annmarie Timmins, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 31, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

By Jesse Valentine - January 17, 2024
A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

By Bonnie Fuller - January 10, 2024
Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - January 08, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

By Ethan DeWitt, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 04, 2024
Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

By Jesse Valentine - December 22, 2023
Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

By - December 15, 2023
Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

By Jesse Valentine - December 08, 2023
Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

By Jesse Valentine - December 07, 2023
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

By Jesse Valentine - December 05, 2023
For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - November 30, 2023
Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

By Jesse Valentine - November 06, 2023
Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

By Jesse Valentine - November 03, 2023
Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today - October 24, 2023
Louisiana declares abortion drugs ‘dangerous substances’ to add harsher penalties

Louisiana declares abortion drugs ‘dangerous substances’ to add harsher penalties

By Greg LaRose, Louisiana Illuminator - May 24, 2024
These U.S. Supreme Court cases could affect abortion access nationwide

These U.S. Supreme Court cases could affect abortion access nationwide

By Charlotte Rene Woods, Virginia Mercury - May 24, 2024
Mike Rogers’ ties to Chinese telecom giants fuel hypocrisy scandal

Mike Rogers’ ties to Chinese telecom giants fuel hypocrisy scandal

By Jesse Valentine - May 23, 2024
New rules protect pregnant workers, but red states sue over abortion provisions

New rules protect pregnant workers, but red states sue over abortion provisions

By Anna Claire Vollers - May 22, 2024