Johnson Nixon, Butterfield, Nixon Administration discussed on Can He Do That?
Willingness to lie the feeling that everyone's out to get him and to me. It starts to sound really similar actually relate to some of the descriptions of his predecessor President Johnson the most important part that is similar stories that both Johnson Nixon wanted to overpower people and everything control everything. So that's an example people of that for Nixon like an example even early in his presidency of that paranoia and his desire for control a it was Christmas nineteen. sixty-nine Nixon had been president almost a year. And he's going over to the staff offices in the executive Dave office building next to the White House and he he sees that lots of people have pictures of John F. Kennedy on their desk or more on the wall and A goes beserk and orders that Butterfield to get rid of these pictures and and replaced them with Nixon and I kinda thought maybe this was a bit of an exaggeration and then What what one of the things that happened? Butterfield wrote a memo to Nixon about how he got Nixon's pictures to replace the twenty two Kennedy Hindi pictures that he found in some cases where the president had personally signed it to them and in in the memo The heading is sanitation of the staff office sanitation. And if somehow getting rid of Kennedy pictures was cleansing operation credibly bazaar and Butterfield had worked working on this and get investigate. People try to you know they were worried about whether these people were loyal to Nixon and so forth and if if he could have relaxed in realized there was just a lot of goodwill even Democrats felt for him he couldn't find a way to leverage that goodwill to his advantage it was. We're GONNA get him and then when he was reelected in seventy you too you know he said No. We're really going to get people. It's going to be pay back time and this this is what's sad component of all of this was very little joy in being president Joy was actually kind of the heart of our Theodore Roosevelt episode. Someone who seemed to take a lot of joy in being president but yes in Theodore Theodore Roosevelt took a lot of joy in living Nixon did not his butterfield told me we went through dozens of vowers of interviews about his experience. And he'd never really told it before there are scenes on comes to mind where Butterfield is riding in the presidential helicopter with Nixon and the Verse Lady and Pat. Nixon says Oh Dick Doc. Let's go up to New York. Christmas is coming. We'll take the girls be a good time. We'll go to show and Nixon. Is there writing something out on his yellow legal pad just totally ignores and she keeps going. You Know Dick you know kinda nothing now in in Butterfield was just astounded and horrified. That there wouldn't be the kind kind of yes dear. Let's talk about it or we'll consider. It was just closed off his own wife now. Same time their documents in the Butterfield archive that show. Nixon knew how to play to people's Egos and there's dinner at Camp David that was recorded. You Find Nixon's able to talk to his cabinet in in in a very human almost humorous way and play on the rigo and but he would then drift back into the automatic pilot. Uh of anger mode it was that sense of isolation that sense of a personal crusade to do things to accomplish things at the end of the day. Six thirty at night Nixon would leave the Oval Office and walk over to his. Is Private yet another office in the executive office building. That was more casual and he be there would have dinner alone and and and writing things out on the yellow legal pad now. You're president of the United States. You'd think he'd want to go with his family Roy which he didn't WanNa do too often he can talk to anyone in the world right and you would think he would have some more curiosity about that. But he wanted to be alone in the end and Butterfield described and other people were for Nixon. Yes and going into that private office. He had an aide have his feet up and his jacket on. And it was just this sense of Chill out enjoy it and and look for for what good you can do for people now to his credit. Sometimes he did on some things but again. It was this tribe. Evan this paranoia in this score-settling attitude but the couple of redeeming Connie He did some things in foreign foreign policy though into China was significant knee. Leveraged it I would even say brilliantly the same moot relations with the Soviet Union he had some domestic pluses creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and so forth. So there were things in all of this illegal corrupting in ugly debris that that are quite positive and quite strong in quite human but That Pales Sir. So do you feel like you have a sense of why he wanted to be president why he wanted power in in the first place and he wanted to to be president in part to show people He resented deeply the eastern Ernest. stablishment the people and he talks about this on the tapes. The people who had all the people who had it handed to them he wanted to be a renowned leader also and he did not perceive or have a system or relationships with anyone who could Kinda tell him. Hey you know what's going on in this presidency. Let's see if it's running off the rails and finally off the cliff. You Is National Security Advisor in Kissinger you see the time and time again Kissinger kind of Fawning the sync offense to Nixon An and Kissinger was smarter than that and would try to steer things his way but he he would never overtly late to my knowledge challenge Nixon and say no way. Would we try to do here. There is a memo that butterfield. Butterfield gave me what I call Zilch memo on top secret document. Nixon wrote a handwritten note Kissinger about the bombing in Vietnam. AETNA and said we've done it for three years and achieved Zilch. It's been a failure doesn't make sense and then you look at the record. And at that point this is January of Nineteen seventy-two justice. Nixon is beginning to run for reelection. It is dropped three million tons of bombs in Southeast Asia. And he says it's accomplished nothing. It's been a failure doesn't doesn't make sense. Accomplished Zilch was stunned. When I read this and then you look and you see that in seventy two? He intensified the bombing and the tape. Show that it was in large part done. Because it showed how Tuffy Afi was in the polling showed the public wanted more bombing and toughness and he even though he knew it was not effective active. He still did it just for the look of it. Yeah and I'm in. That's it's an equivalent corruption to Watergate. And and that to me. When I saw last year was a stunner I thought you know how could you have lost your way that you would do that? And essentially killing thousands of people in Cambodia North Vietnam clouds to put down a political marker now presidents sentenced. Don't like to lose wars but realism needs to overtake that at some point and you need to say. Asu Commander in chief. What are we accomplishing in her? Her we killing people with purpose. But do you feel like has changed the most about Your understanding of Nixon. The more the record comes out the these butterfield documents in his stories stories and more tapes. They still haven't released all of the tapes. Believe it or not The story gets worse rather than better better. So maybe before we even get to Watergate in particular nineteen seventy one is the publication of the Pentagon papers. That's also the year he started at the Washington Post Straight. Could you describe and what the climate was like to be in journalism at that time and and already sort of what friction there was lies between the Nixon administration and the press it was substantial and you could feel it in the air head contempt for the press. Ask because they'd be. They seem to be after him. He also worried The people could find out who he really was. He was concealed legal person. At one point. He says In one of these tapes of the problem is we've been to open with the press and of course.