After Richard Nixon released the edited transcripts of the White House tapes, his apologists began to lose ammunition.
After Richard Nixon released the edited transcripts of the White House tapes, his apologists began to lose ammunition.
National Archives & Records Administration

Oh, Yeah, What About Benghazi? How to Defend Your President With Watergate Retorts

We liberals/socialists/snowflakes/fake media are a nasty bunch.

Every day, we batter supporters of Donald Trump with tougher and tougher questions about his presidency.

Who in his administration hasn’t talked with a Russian? Why won’t the president release his tax returns? Was Donald Jr. a member of the KGB? When is Mexico going to pay for that wall? Does the president ever tell the truth? Didn’t he say he was going to protect Medicaid? Can you believe his latest tweet? Does he understand we have a Constitution (and it has a First Amendment)? Can you name one thing he’s done for the middle class?

But this is not the first time we've been so disrespectful. Let's turn the clocks back about 45 years to the break-in at the Watergate Hotel.

In the following months, anyone defending Dick Nixon was being “attacked by pseudo-liberals, McGovern lovers … and paranoid John Dean believers,” Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Art Buchwald wrote in a 1973 column.

Buchwald said he felt sorry for these beleaguered Nixon lovers, so he provided them with a list of 36 prepared responses to help fend off … well, people like him and me.

His column was titled, “Oh, Yeah! What About Chappaquiddick?” (Millennials, ask your grandparents to explain how Ted Kennedy emerged from the Chappaquiddick River and Mary Jo Kopechne did not.)

Buchwald was my hero as a young journalist, so I feel obliged to provide the same service for today’s Trumpeters. In fact, many of the excuses that he offered for Nixon then work perfectly for Trump supporters today exactly as they were written, or only need a word or two substituted or altered. (Those are italicized.)

1. Everyone does it.
2. What about Benghazi?

3. At least Putin wasn’t wearing a blue dress.
4. The press is blowing this whole thing up.
5. The tweets are merely to distract the fake media from the real work Trump is doing ... like lowering taxes for the rich.
6. The Democrats are sore because they lost.
7. Are you going to believe a rat like James Comey or the President of the United States?
8. Wait until all the facts come out.

9. What about those 33,000 emails?

10. If you impeach Trump, you get President Mike Pence.
11. I’d rather have Jeff Sessions dealing with the Russians than Obama negotiating with the Muslims.
12. People might have liked Hillary more if she would have worn as much makeup as Kellyanne Conway.
13. You think Bill Clinton treated women with respect?
14. The fake news media would be against Trump no matter what.
15. I’d rather have a fool in the White House than a Crooked Hillary. (The original was “I’d rather have a crook in the White House than a fool” ... but close enough.)
16. Obamacare is ruining the country; we have to get rid of it … just as long as they don’t touch my health care.
17. What’s the big deal about finding out what your opposition is doing?
18. The President was too busy draining the swamp to know what was going on.
19. What about Benghazi?

20. "The president is new at this. He's learning as he goes." (Paul Ryan.)
21. Hillary would have lost anyway.
22. Have you seen how well my stock portfolio is doing?
23. I’m not for breaking any law, but sometimes you have to do it to save the country.
24. The Russians didn’t influence the election. Three million illegal Mexicans voting for Hillary did.
25. I’ll bet JFK grabbed Marilyn Monroe by the …
26. “If Trump Jr. deleted all of his emails, wiped his server with BleachBit, and destroyed all of his phones with a hammer, would the media suddenly lose all interest in the story and declare him innocent?” (Internet meme by Susan Swift).
27. No wonder Trump hasn’t gotten much done; he’s been too busy getting us out of the mess Obama created by giving us health care, restrictions on Wall Street, protections for the LGBTQ community, sanctions on Russia, etc.

28. I’m sick and tired of hearing about Russia and so is everybody else.
29. This thing should be tried in the courts, not on fake media CNN.
30. The American people “wouldn’t understand” Trump’s tax returns (Paul Manafort.)
31. The Mexicans will pay for the wall … even if I have to pay more for a new car.
32. Lock her up. Why isn't Robert Mueller investigating Hillary?
33. Conservatives like George Will, Lindsay Graham, David Brooks, and the National Review who oppose Trump are afraid of change.
34. Coal miners need jobs more than the rest of us need climate controls.
35. Trump is president and you’re not.

This last response is only for Trump family members or close associates who may have to answer questions from or a Senate committee:

36. Uh, pardon me?

(That one worked particularly well for Nixon.)

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