This week, speaking with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on “Hardball,” former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw stated of President Trump that he “plays from the gutter.”
The conversation started with Matthews, as he pumped Brokaw’s new book, “The Fall of Richard Nixon,” likening President Trump to former President Richard Nixon, noting Brokaw had asked Nixon how he could withhold material from Congress during an impeachment inquiry.
Matthews asked Brokaw, “How much is Watergate like or unlike what we have been through this fall?”
Brokaw opined that the situations were markedly different because when Brokaw queried Nixon, “his principal aides were on the way to prison. We had tape recordings of the attempt of what was in the White House itself, including from the president to try to cover up everything. So the evidence was much harder at that point, and much more obvious to everyone. Now, it’s become this kind of game, he said/she said.”
Brokaw then lauded Nixon, asserting, “And the same time, the conduct of Donald Trump versus conduct of President Nixon, Nixon was always aware of being presidential and the way he spoke and the way he responded to me there. Trump, you know, plays from the gutter, frankly. I mean, you know, ready, draw, shoot, whatever you need to do.”
Brokaw theorized that the United States is different than it was in Nixon’s era because of the advent of social media, adding, “everybody can tune in, see what’s going on, you don’t know whether it is authentic or not what you’re reading, people are fiddling with it constantly. And so, we’re a much more divided country now than we were then.”
He continued, “The other very important part of it, the Republican Party at that time did not speak out in a way they’re speaking out now. Most of them stayed quietly in their offices and took in the evidence that was coming in on a daily basis. They didn’t get out there and show their sharp elbows, say this is outrageous how the president is being treated. They waited until they saw things.”
Brokaw praised Nixon for having a “genius about the big picture, the sweeping issues that had to do with foreign policy and with the global contests between the United States and the Soviet Union …” although it was Ronald Reagan, not Nixon, who brought the Soviet Union to an end.
In September 2017, speaking on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Brokaw slammed the GOP, saying:
I think what happened is continuation of the Republican determination to cut out Hispanic votes on their side for as long as they can see. This has been going on for a long time. This is a rejection on the part of the Republican Party that we have Hispanic citizens in this country, and other people, who, in many ways, are inclined to share their values. Stu Spencer, the genius of Ronald Reagan’s campaign, used to say, “We should have the Hispanic vote in our corner. These are people who are family-oriented, they’re faithful, they work hard. They’ve got all those values. But for a long, long time, the Republican Party has been declaring war on Hispanics in this country.
He said later, “It’s hard for me to see the big picture, from a Republican point of view, Joe, going forward, and just giving the back of your hand to people who have Hispanic surnames.”