Apparently it’s a pretty well-known fact that Richard Nixon was an anti-Semite. I’m not shocked by this, but I guess I never realized that he was an explicit anti-Semite, as opposed to the kind of anti-Semite who just quietly thinks Jews are dirty.
Today I was listening to the political gabfest podcast at Slate, and John Dickerson recommended listening to the tape where Nixon comes right out and says to his minions that they need to have someone look into the Jews in government and see if they could get them out. “I want to look at any sensitive areas around where Jews are involved.” Why? Because the Jews are untrustworthy. Then he goes on to list some Jews that are trustworthy (Kissinger, Garment, Safire). Then he says, “But generally speaking, you can’t trust the bastards.”
I can’t be the only one who sees the irony here, right? Nixon thinks you can’t trust Jews (except for the ones you can trust). Then two reporters (one Jewish) helped unveil just how untrustworthy Nixon was, eventually forcing Nixon to resign. Love it.
Go listen to the tapes here. A full transcript accompanies the audio, and it’s only about 3 minutes long.
My second favorite part of the tape is when Nixon and his aide start talking about who’s gay and who’s not. They wonder about one guy and decide he’s not Jewish but he looks gay. (That guy was neither gay nor Jewish at the time, but converted to Judaism in 2005.) Then they say there was another guy who looked gay, but “he sure as hell isn’t” gay.
Here’s what I want to know: How did he look gay, and what did he do that made Nixon and his aide decide that he definitely wasn’t gay? Did they, like, walk in on him having sex with a lady? I have so many questions.
Oh yeah, and the guy who was tasked with counting the Jews in government and shifting them out of control? He was recently appointed by the Virginia governor as chairman of his Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring. So I guess if you’re a Jew working for the Virginia state government, you should watching your back.