In a poignant Facebook post, Dan Rather puts the magnitude of Donald Trump's Russia scandal into focus: Watergate was "the biggest political scandal of my lifetime, until maybe now." According to recent polling, the public is right there with him.
As of this writing, Dan Rather’s viral Facebook post on the rapidly unfolding crisis surrounding the Trump administration’s ties to Russia, alongside that country’s interference in our election, has over 235,000 “likes,” as well as over 10,000 comments, and has been shared by readers over 110,000 times.
Watergate is the biggest political scandal of my lifetime, until maybe now. It was the closest we came to a debilitating…
Donald Trump is already reaching unprecedented lows in popularity and public approval, and there is potential for those dismal numbers to sink even lower, as more information regarding connections and collusion between both his campaign and his White House team with Russia comes to light.
But to really understand the depths of Trump’s historic unpopularity, you have to go all the way back to disgraced President Richard Nixon. As the Pew Research Center demonstrates, support for Nixon’s impeachment did not reach 40 percent until months after the televised Watergate hearings and the Saturday Night Massacre that Trump recently emulated — whereas support for impeaching Trump has reached a similar level mere weeks into his presidency.
As Rather notes, the Watergate scandal was “the end of the Nixon Presidency,” even though it was not obvious from the beginning that it would pan out that way.
And while the swirling controversy around the Trump team and Russia is not quite, in Rather’s opinion as a longtime journalist, at Watergate levels yet, we are far from the end of the story, which is “cascading in intensity seemingly by the hour.”
It is impossible to know for sure how this story will play out, just as it was impossible for reporters in the 70s to foresee just what “Watergate” would become, both as an actual news story and as an enduring symbol of corruption and Constitutional crisis. And thus Rather is correct in his declaration that the country needs and deserves a complete and independent investigation — and thousands of people agree with him.
(Katie Paris contributed to this article.)