In the newly-discovered White House tape recordings of conversations between Nixon and his advisors, America’s 37th president can be heard saying that gays are “born that way” – but also calls homosexuality “a problem”, and argues that it destroyed the Greek and Roman empires, reports Vanity Fair. Read an excerpt below.
“I don’t want my views misunderstood. I am the most tolerant person on that of anybody in this shop. They have a problem. They’re born that way. You know that. That’s all. I think they are. Anyway, my point is, though, when I say they’re born that way, the tendency is there.”
In the recordings, Nixon and his colleagues go on to discuss the Greek and Roman empires, and Nixon reveals his belief that these ancient civilisations’ willingness to embrace homosexuality contributed to their downfall.
“But the point is, look at that, once a society moves in that direction, the vitality goes out of that society.”
Nixon then adds that the US shouldn’t follow suit, insisting:
“By God, I am not going to have a situation where we pass along a law indicating, `Well, now, kids, just go out and be gay.’ They can do it. Just leave them alone. That’s a lifestyle I don’t want to touch.”
Listen to the full recording below: