In the early going of the Trump Administration, the many echoes of the Nixon Era have been unmistakable. We have a president who came into office speaking frequently of “the silent majority” and “law and order.” Now that he’s in office, the president appears to be at best paranoid and at worst seriously deranged, with the growing sense that his presidency, however it ends, will result in lots of high officials ending up in jail.

The president’s recent behavior has also evoked memories of Nixon. Trump’s completely baseless accusation in a tweet last weekend that President Obama had personally ordered Trump Tower wiretapped, despite any evidence whatsoever that it was true.

As is the case with most unhinged tweets from the 45th president, the accusation could be traced to one particular media article, filtered through Trump’s particularly weak reading comprehension skills. This time, it was high-pitched radio talker Mark Levin, filtered through Trump house organ Breitbart News.

In Nixon's image

The article, published March 3, was essentially an aggregation of a Levin radio rant from the day before, citing various steps taking in the waning days of the Obama Administration to investigate Trump’s Russia ties. Levin went on to use the phrase “Silent Coup” to describe, I guess, Obama’s efforts to undermine his successor.

If nothing else, the article showed that for all the presidential sycophancy, journalistic shoddiness and rank bigotry, the biggest constant at Breitbart is something else: Really, really terrible prose.

The original Silent Coup

But another interesting aspect of this is that the phrase “Silent Coup” has a specific meaning. "Silent Coup: The Removal of a President" is a book, by Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin, published in early 1992. The book amounted to a revisionist history of Watergate and Nixon’s removal from office.

Among other things, the book alleged that John Dean personally executed the Watergate break-in in order to hide his wife’s involvement in a call-girl ring and that Nixon himself had committed no wrongdoing.

The book’s primary legacy is that it led to a protracted libel lawsuit by Dean against the actual Watergate mastermind, G. Gordon Liddy, who acted as a source for the book.

But will Trump have a Nixon-like fall, with a consensus emerging on the right that he was railroaded and didn’t do anything wrong? That would not be shocking.