Whenever a new batch of Watergate-era Nixon White House tape recordings are released, we get yet another glimpse into the inner circle of what appears to be a chief executive losing it. It this latest round we hear Nixon, in the midst of the Watergate Committee hearings, slamming our Connecticut’s own maverick US Sen. Lowell Weicker.
It seems Nixon, at the time, was paranoid and had particularly harsh words for two Republicans on the committee whom he saw as disloyal. “[Tenn. Sen. Howard] Baker will not be in this office again. You understand me? Weicker will not be in this office again!” Nixon growled.
Nixon said much worse things in this segment of the tapes, in particular, showing a nasty anti-Semitic streak. But the comment about Weicker is interesting in that Weicker at the time—and certainly ever since then—has worn his aggressiveness against Nixon as a badge of honor. In fact, Nixon was a strong supporter of Weicker’s first senate run in 1970. Many establishment Republicans saw the pursuit of Nixon by Weicker as a betrayal.
The Watergate hearings certainly put Weicker on the national map as a name player in Washington. He rode the maverick reputation through two more terms in the Senate before Joe Lieberman ousted him in 1988. Weicker of course, famously returned to politics capturing the governorship as an independent in 1990.