It’s as if he stuck a note on himself that read, “Kick me around.” Even in death, Richard Nixon can’t seem to get along with others.
In his latest batch of released White House tapes, reported in the Washington Post, the 35th president expands his circle of bigotry from Jews to cover blacks, Italians and the Irish.
“The Jews have certain traits,” the leader of the free world told an aide. “The Irish have certain — for example, the Irish can’t drink. What you always have to remember with the Irish is they get mean. Virtually every Irish I’ve known gets mean when he drinks. It’s sort of a natural trait. Particularly the real Irish.”
Presumably he was speaking of Irish Americans. The Italians, Nixon ruled, ” just don’t have their heads screwed on tight. They are wonderful people, but . . .” Nixon trailed off at that point, and perhaps we should be relieved. Later, he added, “The Jews are just a very aggressive and abrasive and obnoxious personality.”
The tapes were recorded in 1973. As for African Americans, Nixon voiced doubt to his secretary, Rose Mary Woods, about Secretary of State William Rogers’ belief that blacks were making significant strides in America.
“My own view is I think he’s right if you’re talking in terms of 500 years,” Nixon said. “I think it’s wrong if you’re talking in terms of 50 years. What has to happen is they have to be, frankly, inbred. And, you just, that’s the only thing that’s going to do it, Rose.”
My mouth is agape.