Sixteen months before Richard Nixon resigned as President of the United States, he was a fan of no one, especially not blacks, Jews, Italians or the Irish. We know this because much of it is on tape, but it’s just now that anyone is getting around to hearing the nastiness of his words thanks to new releases by the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. So far, 265 hours of tape have been released with another 400 to go. It’s sort of like all of those posthumous albums by the Notorious B.I.G., except Nixon’s recordings probably have more bad words. But don’t worry: Nixon was totally down with Israeli Jews. And don’t call it “prejudice” or, god forbid, “racism”: “I’ve just recognized that, you know, all people have certain traits.” Let’s learn about these traits.
Via the New York Times:
“The Jews have certain traits,” he said. “The Irish have certain — for example, the Irish can’t drink. What you always have to remember with the Irish is they get mean. Virtually every Irish I’ve known gets mean when he drinks. Particularly the real Irish.”
Nixon continued: “The Italians, of course, those people course don’t have their heads screwed on tight. They are wonderful people, but,” and his voice trailed off.
A moment later, Nixon returned to Jews: “The Jews are just a very aggressive and abrasive and obnoxious personality.”
Nixon also gives the opinion that blacks will only strengthen the country in a term of 500 years, not the 50 years suggested by his aide, who must have “somewhat sort of a blind spot on the black thing because he’s been in New York.” Nixon says blacks need much longer, and it will only work if the good ones are “frankly, inbred.” Frankly.
Back on the subject of “the Jews,” Nixon blames insecurity. “What it is, is it’s the insecurity,” he said. “It’s the latent insecurity. Most Jewish people are insecure. And that’s why they have to prove things.” Also they desert from wars.
Of course, these are only the quotes — sans any cursing! — made available by the New York Times. Here are the latest releases, February and March of 1973, available online. The full tapes are due out by 2012.
In Tapes, Nixon Rails About Jews and Blacks [NYT]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 11, 2010