The latest batch of tapes from the Watergate era reveal that President Richard Nixon thought Jews were aggressive and obnoxious, the Irish were mean drunks, and Italians did not have their heads “screwed on tight.” The remarks, including others about blacks and Russian Jews, were contained in 265 hours of tape recordings released by the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, The New York Times
Nixon made the remarks to his secretary and top aides just 16 months before resigning as president, according to the Times.
During one session, Nixon stresses that he is not prejudiced but adds, “I’ve just recognized that, you know, all people have certain traits.”
- “Virtually every Irish I’ve known gets mean when he drinks. Particularly the real Irish.
- "The Italians, of course, those people don’t have their heads screwed on tight.
- "The Jews are just a very aggressive and abrasive and obnoxious personality.”
In a conversation with his secretary, Rose Mary Woods, Nixon questioned Secretary of State William P. Rogers’ views about the future of black Americans because he has “sort of a blind spot on the black thing because he’s been in New York . . . What has to happen is they have be, frankly, inbred,” the Times reported.
The tapes reveal the complexity of Nixon’s relationship with Israel, the Times reports, citing the March 1, 1973 visit of Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. The recordings show that Meir thanked Nixon profusely for the way he had treated her and Israel.
But the door scarcely had closed behind her when Nixon and his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger were scoffing at the idea that the United States should pressure the Soviet Union to let Jews emigrate.
“The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy. And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern,” Kissinger said, according to the Times.
“I know,” Nixon responded. “We can’t blow up the world because of it.”
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