It was over for Richard Nixon after he inquired about pardoning himself for Watergate, and was told by the Department of Justice that he wouldn’t be able to get away with such a pardon. He resigned a few days later. Now that Donald Trump is rambling on Twitter about pardoning himself, it’s a sign that he seems to be figuring out it’s over for him as well. In fact, in a sign that Nixon’s downfall may be on his mind, he’s now ranting about Nixon and Watergate.
Trump is once again hung up on his hallucinations about the FBI having somehow planted a “spy” in his campaign, a claim so deranged, even some Republican leaders in Congress have tried to distance themselves from it. So instead Trump is relying on the most crazed of tinfoil hat lunatics of the far right for source material. This evening he quoted a clown from Judicial Watch who was spinning a fictional tale of how the FBI was somehow rigging the election against him.
We’ll spare you the entire demented fantasy that Trump quoted, but the final sentence stands out. Here’s what it (laughably and falsely) accuses the FBI of having done to the Trump campaign: “This makes the Nixon Watergate burglary look like keystone cop stuff.” Uh, wow. See, here’s the thing about Watergate: Nixon conspired with burglars to steal Democratic Party records so he could use them to alter the outcome of the election. Trump conspired with the Russian government to steal Democratic Party records so he could use them to alter the outcome of the election. Trump literally did Watergate, plus treason.
Donald Trump famously suffers from an acute case of projection, in which he consistently accuses others of doing precisely whatever he’s doing wrong. Just yesterday Trump was talking about pardoning himself, something that only Richard Nixon has explored. Today he’s accusing others of committing “Watergate” against him, which means he realizes that his Trump-Russia scandal is indeed the next Watergate. It’s as if Trump is finally piecing together, in his own demented way, that he’s about to go down.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report