Yesterday, the Nixon Library made "more than 150 hours of tape and 30,000 pages of documents" public, much of it online.
One of the things revealed is that, while Nixon didn't make a public statement about Roe v. Wade, he had mixed feelings about the decision. He worried, like so many concerned
Nixon worried that greater access to abortions would foster “permissiveness,” and said that “it breaks the family.”
But he did recognize that sometimes, women might need abortions (emphasis mine):
“There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white,” he told an aide, before adding, “Or a rape.”
Because apparently, a white woman having consensual sex with and becoming pregnant by a black man is equivalent to/"just as tragic as" being raped and becoming pregnant. I put it in these terms, not because black women didn't/don't have children with white men, but because this is the combination that has always been seen as "tragic." White southern men, for example, spent many of the early years of the "New South" warning about such relationships and trying to ensure, violently, that they didn't occur.
The newly released recordings also document Nixon's anti-Semitism (as recordings before have done):
The tapes also include a phone call from February 1973 between Nixon and the evangelist Billy Graham, during which Mr. Graham complained that Jewish-American leaders were opposing efforts to promote evangelical Christianity, like Campus Crusade. The two men agreed that the Jewish leaders risked setting off anti-Semitic sentiment.
“What I really think is deep down in this country, there is a lot of anti-Semitism, and all this is going to do is stir it up,” Nixon said.
At another point he said: “It may be they have a death wish. You know that’s been the problem with our Jewish friends for centuries.”
It's funny how Republican leaders for the last 50 years or so have been accusing racial/ethnic/religious minorities of "stirring things up" and provoking the attacks on themselves by demanding to be seen, heard, counted. It's the height of privilege-- and evidence of a sad lack of empathy--to view someone's struggle for rights as an inconvenience to your own life and the source of your righteous indignation.
And as to the part I emphasized, note that he is speaking, what, one generation after the Holocaust? I don't even have flippant analysis for that--he was just an asshole.
* Meaning forced pregnancy and childbirth