Ever since the election, it seems, people have been rushing to compare President Donald Trump to disgraced former Republican President Richard Nixon.
The comparisons ramped up when Attorney General Jeff Sessions called for the resignation of all remaining Obama-era U.S. attorneys — in spite of the fact that many past presidents have “cleaned house” in a similar manner.
And they went nuclear when President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey amid rumors that he did so to prevent or at least stall further investigations into alleged ties between Russia and the Trump campaign and transition teams.
Hillary Clinton, in her commencement speech at her alma mater, reminded the Wellesley College class of 2017 that she herself had come up in an interesting political climate: the age of Nixon.
The Wall Street Journal reported:
In her speech Friday, Mrs. Clinton also offered an extended allusion comparing Mr. Trump’s recent controversies regarding Russia to President Richard Nixon’s handling of the Watergate scandal. Mr. Trump came under fire recently for his abrupt firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey, who was leading the agency’s Russia inquiry.
Drawing a clear line from her college days to the present, Mrs. Clinton said that in 1969, she and her classmates “were furious about the past presidential election of a man whose presidency would eventually end in disgrace with his impeachment for obstruction of justice.” She paused for cheering and applause from the Class of 2017 audience, before adding: “after firing the person running the investigation into him at the Department of Justice.”
But, as the WSJ and others have noted, she made one glaring mistake: former President Richard Nixon was never actually impeached. The Watergate scandal led to talk of impeachment, but Nixon resigned the presidency before the wheels could be set in motion.
In an ironic twist, there was one president in recent history who was impeached for obstruction of justice: Hillary Clinton’s own husband, in 1998.
The New York Times reported at the time:
William Jefferson Clinton was impeached on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice today by a divided House of Representatives, which recommended virtually along party lines that the Senate remove the nation’s 42d President from office.
The irony was compounded by Clinton’s own introduction to the erroneous comparison, in which she warned students that they would face “a full-fledged assault on truth and reason” from political opponents.