Bowdoin’s Rudalevige Discusses ‘Shades of Nixon’ in Trump’s Pardon Claim

Andrew Rudalevige

Claims by President Donald J. Trump that he has the “absolute right” to pardon himself brought to mind, for many, the words of President Nixon, writes Thomas Brackett Reed Professor of Government Andrew Rudalevige in The Washington Post’s political science blog, Monkey Cage. Speaking in a 1977 interview, the disgraced former president famously said: “When the president does it, that means it is not illegal.”

Today, says Rudalevige, Trump and his team are making the case for “a very aggressive version of the ‘unitary executive’: the theory that the president controls all aspects of the executive branch, which, therefore, has no power except as he instructs.” However, Rudalevige goes on to explain how the US Constitution is designed to safeguard against this: “The argument is not really about whether presidents control the executive power — but rather about who defines the executive power.” Read more.

One thought on “Bowdoin’s Rudalevige Discusses ‘Shades of Nixon’ in Trump’s Pardon Claim

  1. David Humphrey '61

    We must keep in mind that Trump is morally dissolute. Why do we continue to tiptoe around this fact? The analysis is thorough from a political science standpoint; it misses, however, the underlying cause.

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