The grand reopening of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum was marked by the split in the Republican Part. All the attendees were divided among those who supported the latest Republican nominee, Donald Trump, and those who were opposed to him.
In particular, there are mixed opinions whenever or not Nixon — who died in 1994 — would support Donald Trump. His grandson, Christopher Nixon Cox, believes his grandfather would have voted for Trump, as “he always supported the Republican ticket.”
Others, such as Jeffrey Donfeld, who served in Nixon’s administration, thought that Nixon would be “absolutely disgusted by this current campaign.” Similar thoughts were shared by a friend of Nixon’s, the chairman emeritus of the Orange County’s Republican Party Lois Lundberg, “he’d been terribly shocked and confused, as so many of us are.”
Some others took the time to assert their loyalty to Donald Trump, who is looking to become the 45th President of the United States. And yet others expressed his distaste towards the candidate.
Henry Kissinger, a former Secretary of State and the architect of Nixon’s foreign policy, had stated last month that he wouldn’t be supporting either of the presidential candidates, instead focusing on working across party lines to improve the perception of the United States “across the globe.”
The events that led to the controversy
The peculiar atmosphere during the reopening was not helped by the odd timing of different events before and even during the reopening.
A week before, a leaked tape showed Donald Trump bragging about using his power to harass women sexually. On the same day of the reopening, a former The Apprentice contestant claimed during a press conference that the Republican nominee groped and kissed her back in 2007.
Lundberg said that, except the infamous Watergate scandal, Nixon had been a decent and honorable person, and that Watergate was “such a minor thing compared to what’s going on now in the political world.”
About the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum
The complex was originally inaugurated in the year 1990, amidst both controversy and fanfare. Many historians have criticized it for what was interpreted as whitewashing the events surrounding the ill-fated 37th President of the United States.
One expert even commented that it was only “slightly better than Disneyland” regarding historical accuracy. The Library and Museum joined the official presidential library system in the year 2007, which led to its renovation, which opts for showing a much more rounded view of the man nicknamed “Tricky Dick.”
The overhaul cost, approximately, fifteen million dollars, and features almost seventy new exhibits, with the Watergate section first unveiled in 2011. It also features over three hundred artifacts, and a replica of his Oval Office in the original blue and gold décor hand-picked by the First Lady of the time, Pat Nixon.
And among the personal artifacts is one that was kept hidden by Nixon in his Oval Office: a little card with his ten personal rules for being president. His grandson, Christopher Nixon Cox, had found it upon his grandfather’s death in 1994. One of the rules that stuck with Christopher was “don’t forget you should always have a way out of an issue.”
The overhauled version opened on Friday in an event where many influential Republican politicians, along with friends and family of Nixon’s, gathered.
Sources: The Guardian