The recent firing of former FBI Director James Comey set off a flurry of commentary comparing President Donald Trump to another hard-nosed Republican president — Richard Nixon. Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey called the Comey episode “disturbingly reminiscent” of Nixon’s so-called Saturday Night Massacre … while Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal told the New York Times, “Not since Watergate have our legal systems been so threatened and our faith in the independence and integrity of those systems so shaken.”

And this is just the latest round. Comparisons between the 45th and 37th presidents began long before Election Day.

But while the comparisons may come easily, are they really accurate? How does President Trump stack up against his predecessor? And how similar to the early 1970s are the late 2010s?


  • Matthew Dallek Associate professor of political management, Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University; author of "Defenseless Under the Night: The Roosevelt Years and the Origins of Homeland Security"
  • John Farrell Journalist and author; his most recent book is "Richard Nixon: The Life"
  • Nicole Hemmer Assistant professor in presidential studies, University of Virginia's Miller Center; author of "Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics"

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