Richard Nixon, who was declared the winner of the US presidential election on November 5, 1968, made deeply disparaging remarks about Irish Americans, Watergate-era tapes revealed.

Nixon stated that the "Irish can't drink" because he claimed they "got mean", especially the real Irish from Ireland.

On other tapes, Nixon had been caught making anti-Semitic, anti-Black, and anti-Italian remarks.

For example, prior to his impeachment proceedings, when Nixon realized that Peter Rodino, an Italian guy from Newark and Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, would be running his impeachment, he went full-throttle: “The Italians…They’re not, ah, they’re not like us. Difference is, the…they smell different, they look different, act different…The trouble is, you can’t find one that’s honest.”

But this was the first time he was recorded making such remarks about the Irish.

The remarks were revealed in 265 hours of recording that were released in 2010 by the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.

Nixon was speaking to senior advisor Charles Colson when he made the remarks.

"I've just recognized, that, you know, all people have certain traits," he said.

"The Jews have certain traits," he stated.

"The Irish have certain-- for example, the Irish can't drink. What you always have to remember with the Irish is they get mean. Virtually every Irish I've known gets mean when he drinks. Particularly the real Irish," he said referring to people from Ireland.

Nixon may have harbored animosity towards Irish Americans because John F. Kennedy narrowly defeated him in 1960 for the White House.

He himself had an Irish background and visited his ancestral roots during a visit to Ireland during his presidency, stopping at Timahoe in County Kildare

The video here shows Richard Nixon in Ireland:

*Originally published in October 2011, updated in November 2020.

History facebook
IrishCentral History

Love Irish history? Share your favorite stories with other history buffs in the IrishCentral History Facebook group.