Politics

Nixon in Racist Rants on New White House Tapes

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

If you think you've heard the last of those infamous audio tapes from the Nixon White House, you'd be wrong.

The Nixon Presidential Library and Museum released 265 new hours of tapes to the public. And like the other thousands of hours of tape previously released, they do not show the former president in the best light.

In these tapes, we hear Richard Nixon's less-than-enlightened views on blacks, Jews and other ethnic groups. Basically, he repeats every stereotype we've ever heard as if they were fact.

About blacks, this is what Nixon had to say in a conversation with his secretary, Rose Woods, about Secretary of State William Rogers' views about them.

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"Bill Rogers has got somewhat - and to his credit it’s a decent feeling - but somewhat, sort of, a sort of blind spot on the black thing because he’s been in New York,’ Nixon said on the tapes.

"He says, well, 'They are coming along, and that after all, they are going to strengthen our country in the end because they are strong physically and some of them are smart.' So forth and so on.

"My own view is I think he’s right if you’re talking in terms of 500 years.

"I think it’s wrong if you’re talking in terms of 50 years. What has to happen is they have to be, frankly, inbred. And, you just, that’s the only thing that’s going to do it, Rose."

On Jews, he called them "obnoxious":

"Basically, Rose, most of our Jewish friends, they are all basically people who have a sense of inferiority and have got to compensate. The Jews are just a very aggressive and abrasive and obnoxious personality."

He had this exchange with his Jewish Secretary of State Henry Kissinger:

Kissinger: "The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy. And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern."

Nixon: "I know. We can’t blow up the world because of it."

Then there are the Irish and Italians:

"I’ve just recognized that, you know, all people have certain traits.

"The Irish have certain traits - 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. It’s sort of a natural trait. Particularly the real Irish.

"The Italians, of course, just don’t have their heads screwed on tight. They are wonderful people, but..."

Nixon resigned the presidency in 1973 amid the Watergate scandal. Evidence found on the audiotapes played a large part in his decision to step down. And nearly 40 years later, and more than ten years after his death, Nixon's own words continue to haunt his legacy.