An excellent story from the McClatchy Washington Bureau reveal just how close the parallels are.
What it reveals is a pathological fear of protest, evident in both Trump and his Republican predecessor:
What would seem to be an innocent decision to cancel a trip to the Milwaukee headquarters of Harley-Davidson amid protests and instead have executives over for lunch Thursday at the White House has raised questions about whether President Donald Trump is developing a fortress mentality akin to the Nixon White House.
Presidential scholars already are drawing comparisons between Trump and former President Richard Nixon for his authoritarian-like proclivities and public battles with journalists. Nixon faced large protests across major cities after he was inaugurated, as well – albeit those were anti-war demonstrations during the height of the Vietnam War.
Nixon’s White House would later become known as a bunker where the president and loyal staffers holed up, away from scrutinizing cameras. If he did travel, Nixon took precautions.
“Richard Nixon would like to land at military bases, and they would turn out some military who would applaud him,” said George Edwards, a presidential scholar at Texas A&M University. “He’d work the fence line a little bit, as opposed to going to places where there would be lots of problems.”
Several historians could not recall a similar trip cancellation by a president of the United States in modern history.
And he channels his inner Reagan too
Turns out that the mother of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee is the son of Ronald Reagan’s first Environmental Protection Agency administrator, a person so devoted to helping out corporations and hiding evidence of pollution that she was forced to resign in shame.
Bear in mind that the EPA was an agency Trump had pledge to abolish [though he’s backtracking now], and the son of Nixon’s EPA head would have the chance to rule on cases involving the EPA.
From the McClatchy Washington Bureau:
Gorsuch hasn’t been a household name in the nation’s capital for more than 30 years, not since the late Anne Gorsuch Burford stood at the center of the worst scandal in the history of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Now her son, appellate Judge Neil Gorsuch, is President Donald Trump’s choice to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Burford, known as Anne Gorsuch until she remarried in 1983, was among a band of allies of arch-conservative Colorado brewery magnate Joseph Coors who were swept into senior government jobs under Republican President Ronald Reagan. An attorney and former Colorado state legislator, Gorsuch was known for an anti-regulatory bent.
Her stewardship as EPA administrator was marked by a string of revelations of cozy ties with chemical companies and attempts to purge the agency of scientists and enforcement staffers tasked with minimizing the presence of toxins in the air and water. Headlines about the scandal dominated the news for months in late 1982 and early 1983.
There were secret “hit lists” of agency employees targeted for dismissal, decisions to ease regulation of dioxin and dangerous pesticides, and allegations that Burford made politically driven decisions to slow cleanups at Superfund toxic waste sites — those containing the most hazardous chemicals.
When a House of Representatives subcommittee subpoenaed agency records about three of the Superfund sites, Burford refused to turn them over, leading to a contempt of Congress citation that threatened her with jail time.
She finally quit when her conduct became too much for even Reagan and the White House revoked her executive privilege against testifying before Congress.