There weren’t many surprises in President Donald Trump’s second State of the Union address on Tuesday night, but one line is drawing parallels to an infamous State of the Union remark uttered by former President Richard Nixon just months before he would resign from office.
“An economic miracle is taking place in the United States, and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations,” Trump said after touting some of the perceived successes of his administration.
That statement was received with warm applause from many Republican members in the House chamber, but Trump’s next remark was met with a much more lukewarm response of scattered applause.
“If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation,” Trump added. “It just doesn’t work that way!”
Watch the video of Trump’s remarks below, via CBS News:
President Trump says the only things that could slow down America's economy are "foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations" #SOTU https://t.co/EXZ8FU2DXV pic.twitter.com/TuscG8d6oc
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 6, 2019
For some following along, there was an immediate historical connection to Trump’s remarks — and one he might have wanted to avoid. Some listeners found the remark reminiscent of an infamous statement from Nixon at his 1974 State of the Union address.
Echoes of Nixon saying one year of Watergate is enough, as Trump says: "If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation."
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) February 6, 2019
"An economic miracle is taking place in the United States and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations." — Donald Trump, SOTU, 2019
"One year of Watergate is enough." — Richard Nixon, SOTU, 1974
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) February 6, 2019
Nixon’s 1974 address took a turn toward the end of his speech when he delivered what he called “a personal word” to the assembled Congress:
“Mr. Speaker, and Mr. President, and my distinguished colleagues and our guests: I would like to add a personal word with regard to an issue that has been of great concern to all Americans over the past year. I refer, of course, to the investigations of the so-called Watergate affair. As you know, I have provided to the special prosecutor voluntarily a great deal of material. I believe that I have provided all the material that he needs to conclude his investigations and to proceed to prosecute the guilty and to clear the innocent.”
“I believe the time has come to bring that investigation and the other investigations of this matter to an end,” Nixon added. “One year of Watergate is enough.”
Watch the video of Nixon’s speech below, via C-SPAN:
President Nixon in 1974 #SOTU: "I believe the time has come to bring that investigation and the other investigations of this matter to an end. One year of Watergate is enough!"
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 30, 2018
Although he may have hoped that the speech could turn the tide that was bearing down against him, Nixon’s wish never came true. The former president would make the historic decision to resign from the presidency under threat of impeachment just months later.