Sep 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Pen pals: The Trump and Nixon letters

Developer Donald Trump attends the opening of the restored Wollman Rink in Central park on November 5, 1987 in New York city,

Trump attends the opening of the restored Wollman Rink in Central park on Nov. 5, 1987. Photo: Rita Barros/Getty Images

The decade-long correspondence between Richard Nixon and Donald Trump in the '80s to early '90s will be available for viewing at the the Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Museum starting Thursday.

Why it matters: Jim Byron, executive vice president of the Richard Nixon Foundation, told AP that the letters were “perhaps the best documented relationship that our current president has with any of his predecessors” and “an invaluable contribution to the ever-evolving group that we know as the presidents club."

  • The letters will be part of the museum's "The Presidents Club: From Adams and Jefferson to Nixon and Trump" exhibit and will showcase letters between six sets of presidents, including Nixon and Trump.

What they said: The two presidents touched on recurring themes such as distrust of the media, TV ratings, foreign policy, real estate and more, according to AP, which had an advance viewing of the letters.

  • “I think that you are one of this country’s great men, and it was an honor to spend an evening with you,” Trump wrote Nixon in June 1982, after the two had been spotted together at the “21” nightclub.
  • In 1990, Nixon consoled Trump when his business was going under saying, “Dear Donald — I know nothing about the intricacies of your business enterprises but the massive media attack on you puts me in your corner!”
  • Nixon flattered Trump after his appearance on Phil Donahue’s talk show, writing that Mrs. Nixon "predicts that whenever you decide to run for office you will be a winner!”

Worth noting: While Trump has adapted Nixon’s “silent majority” strategy for his 2020 re-election campaign, he distanced himself from Nixon during his own impeachment trial.

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