Richard Nixon, pictured here as vice president in 1950, was an introvert in an extrovert’s profession. Corbis, via Getty Images

The parallels — and differences — between Trump and Nixon

In the last few years, historians have explored parallels between President Trump and one of California’s native sons, Richard Nixon. The only president to ever resign from office was born in rural Yorba Linda in 1913.

Like Trump, Nixon despised the press. Both men savaged their perceived political enemies, Trump in public lashings and Nixon mostly behind the scenes. They each faced repeated accusations of abuse of power.

One difference: Whereas Trump offered a daily window into his mind with voluminous tweets and speeches, Nixon intensely guarded his private thoughts and, at least in public, spoke in the measured tones of an experienced government official.

“Some people,” he once said, “think it’s good therapy to sit with a close friend and, you know, just spill your guts … [to] reveal their inner psyche — whether they were breast-fed, or bottle-fed. Not me. No way.” When told toward the end of his career that many Americans felt they still didn’t know him, Nixon replied, “Yeah, it’s true. And it’s not necessary for them to know.”

During Trump’s own impeachment proceedings, he enjoyed an advantage denied to Nixon, wrote the UC Davis historian Kathryn Olmsted. The public ultimately recoiled from the true Nixon, revealed in tapes and testimony. For many supporters of Trump, his true character is there for all to see. They just like it.

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