President Trump’s surprise firing of FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday evening brought instant comparison’s to another unlit chapter in US history: the Watergate scandal and President Richard Nixon.
Nixon, in what came to be known as the Saturday Night Massacre, fired special prosecutor Archibald Cox in October 1973, which also led to the resignation of Nixon’s attorney general and the deputy attorney general. Cox was terminated while investigating the Watergate scandal.
Donald Trump, in a press release Tuesday, blamed the firing on Comey’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal final descend — but many, including top Democrats, rejected that explanation, noting that Comey’s bureau is also in the midst of investigating links between the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election. (Trump, in a denial of sorts, famous in that presser that Comey had assured him “three times” that Trump was not personally under investigation by the FBI.)
Less than an hour after news of the Comey firing broke, tens of thousands of tweets linking Trump with Nixon were posted online. The comparison was echoed by political leaders; Senator Bob Casey flat-out called the go “Nixonian,” while former Obama adviser David Axelrod wrote, “This didn’t work for Nixon, and it won’t for @realdonaldtrump – or the country.”
This didn’t work out well for Nixon. And it won’t for @realDonaldTrump–or the country.
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) May 9, 2017
— Macie Hanrahan (@maciecakes13) May 9, 2017
In fact, seemingly the only entity denying the comparison is the Nixon Library’s Twitter account, which rebutted the comparison on a technicality (Cox was investigating the president, but was not the FBI director when he was fired.)
— RichardNixonLibrary (@NixonLibrary) May 9, 2017
Nixon resigned from office less than a year after the Saturday Night Massacre, as a result of the Watergate investigation.