Ronald Wilson Reagan and Donald John Trump, 40 years apart, yet both relied heavily on the words of our founders. Whether it is the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, the writings of founders and patriots of that era, and the 200+ years that have followed. To express the wisdom, the philosophy, spirit and rationale behind this country’s founding and the struggles that we have endured as a nation, the blood that has been shed by so many Americans, of every creed, color, religion, ethnic background to secure these freedoms for all.
Cover Image: President Ronald Reagan shakes hands with Donald Trump at a reception for members of the “Friends of Art and Preservation in Embassies” Foundation in the Blue Room of the White House on Nov. 3, 1987. (Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum)
How similar is the background of these two great men and yet how different? Both grew up with rather simple beginnings, Reagan went on to be a Hollywood movie star, then Governor of California, and President of the United States. Trump grew up in Queens, one of five boroughs of New York City, the son of an immigrant working man who was quite successful during the years of the Great Depression and World War II. Both men were members of strong families, college-educated, and successful in their endeavors.
Not only did Reagan have a successful acting career, leading him to be head of the Screen Actors Guild. His affinity for people and ability to communicate not only on the screen or hosting an event, but as a politician gave him the title of “The Great Communicator”. Yes, we all can remember his phrase made famous throughout those eight years “well, there you go again” used frequently when answering a question from the press corps.
Trump on the other hand grew up in the real estate development and construction business working side-by-side with the crew, every day on the job with the artisans, craftsmen and laborers who constructed small buildings, then larger complexes and finally skyscraper hotels. Trump knew how to communicate with the common man, the everyday worker that he was shoulder to shoulder with, and never felt that he was any better than any other American.
Trump enjoyed a level of personality in New York City, he was a showman, he was a successful developer, and in demand by everybody in the city, the entrepreneurs, the restaurateurs and even the politicians all wanted to be associated with Donald J. Trump.
He was in such demand that NBC – Universal Studios put together a television program, loosely based on his real estate empire called The Apprentice”. This became one of the top shows on the network, a network run by liberals, Democrats, Hollywood types.
As President, Reagan saw an opportunity to rediscover our commitment to the principles of the United States, as he put it, “respected again in the world and looked to for leadership”. One of the hallmark slogans of President Reagan’s administration is rather similar to Trump’s “America first” and the actions he has taken in the last 3 ½ years, replacing eight years of “leading from behind”, “a red line in the sand”, and bowing to foreign leaders.
President Trump has been criticized as being a nationalist, insulting foreign leaders, and losing respect amongst the global community. At the same time he was ruffling the feathers of world leaders at a NATO summit, he was able to achieve with his form of diplomacy, a great victory for NATO, gaining greater contributions from the NATO membership in support of the alliance, making it stronger than it has ever been since its founding. He was and still is criticized for his “different, quite unconventional diplomacy”, no matter the success.
Reagan’s approach was a return to “common sense” as he said “to preserve peace, we have to become strong again after years of weakness” this is Ronald Reagan 1980 not Donald Trump speaking in 2016, but Trump’s policy to strengthen our military, withdraw from endless wars, and bring peace from strength is very much the same.
Political Analyst and Author, Ava Armstrong, has said:
“Reagan was to the Soviet Union as Trump is to China”. What a profound statement that is. In 1980 we had been challenged militarily, technologically, in space and on battlefields in Vietnam, and additional threats across Europe from the Soviet Empire at that time still controlling multiple countries they seized at the end of World War II.
Trump saw the threats of both military and economic dominance not coming from Russia, but coming from the Far East⏤Communist China. China had become the number two economy in the world⏤a huge military presence in Asia, Africa, and exerting great influence in the Middle East, as well as in several other Asian countries.
Reagan was immensely proud of his successes with his vigorous foreign policy. Achieving peace in the Persian Gulf. Using an arms race with the Russians to force them out of Afghanistan and negotiating a piece for the withdrawal of Vietnamese troops out of Cambodia and Cuban forces out of Angola.
Just recently, the Trump administration led negotiations of a peace agreement between Israel and United Arab Emirates, a first peace treaty drawn between any Arab nation and the Israeli state in 26 years. Where Bush, Clinton, Obama, and Bush had all failed.
Trump has also delivered stability to the Middle East, eliminating the ISIS caliphate, training and equipping Iraqi forces, and standing up to Iran and withdrawing from the ill-advised nuclear agreement. He pledged to end our participation in endless wars, this has been seen by his use of limited and appropriate airstrikes, negotiations with regional leaders and drawdown of United States forces in the region.
Reagan saw peace through strength. He rebuilt our military, he stood up to the Soviet Union which collapsed the year after he left office. He negotiated arms reduction agreements with then Russian Premier Gorbachev. Who can forget the words “Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall” one of the most profound statements in relationships between Eastern Europe and the West? His challenge became a movement which resulted in the 1989 tearing down of the wall separating East and West Berlin.
What followed in the fall of 1989, after the dismantling, tearing down of the Berlin wall, was a rise in nationalism, the collapse of the Soviet Union followed by former Soviet satellite states declaring independence, and collapse of the Warsaw Pact. Reagan set the wheels turning that totally changed the face of Europe and the lives of 500 million people.
Both men are extremely patriotic, when you listen to Reagan’s farewell speech you understand everything about the man, about his commitment to this country, is respect and admiration for the American people, and the founding values of our country.
Trump, this past July 3rd, with a background setting of Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, echoed words about our founders “Our Founders launched not only a revolution in government, but a revolution in the pursuit of justice, equality, liberty, and prosperity”. He then went on to say, “no nation has done more to advance the human condition than the United States of America”.
Reagan in his farewell speech made the same proclamations, as he had done before in referring to the United States as that “city upon a hill”.
Both men were students of history, knowing the foundations of this country, being educated at the time where every citizen studied the great American story, not that it was perfect, but it was the best and still is the best achievement of mankind, and the first at self-government, a government of the people, on the face of this Earth.
Even though Reagan had eight years as governor of California and had tried running for president twice before, and not his party’s choice, he was an outsider to Washington. He was an outsider in California, he was not a member of the establishment in either place.
We all know how the establishment members of the swamp hold candidate and now President Trump in a level of low regard “not particularly flattering”. As he came into office, he brought in people that were established party members to fill positions in his cabinet, and other parts of the bureaucracy, only to run into opposition and open conflict.
Consequently, because he had never been a politician, never been a member of the military, or had ties to either, it took him a significant amount of time to pull together the government and his administration.
This was further complicated because this outsider, disruptor, had defeated the darling of the Democrat Party, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who even on the eve of the election was listening to results at 7 PM, they had all but declared Hillary the winner in a landslide. Boy, were they in for a surprise in the next few hours!
Both men, Reagan and Trump faced opposition, Reagan because he was a Republican who previously was a member of the Democrat Party, as most of Hollywood was and even is till this day, whose policies were more conservative than many of the establishment’s long-time supporters of the military-industrial complex, hardliners even war mongers having been in office for 30 plus years.
Trump comes in from no place, no experience in politics, a previously darling of New York City Democrats and Hollywood, he was a showman, and now seen as a crass, crude, unpolished bully, that somehow won the Hearts of America to defeat the first woman ever nominated for the Presidency in the supposedly unbeatable Hillary Clinton.
No sooner than the election results were posted, the shocked members of the Democrat Party stood up and voiced their opinions. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York was one of the first, as he voiced his objections in “Resist” going on to state that there was no way that he, or any number of his party, was going to support this newly elected president, in any way!
Next were the cries from media, for his removal, his impeachment, he is not fit, he stole the election, he cheated and yes, the Russian Conspiracy. Adam Schiff still swears that the Russians helped him win the election.
We all know the history of the last 3 ½ years, the efforts made by the Democrats to remove President Trump from office. When one idea did not work, they tried another even more absurd than the first, and all endorsed by the ultra-liberal media. The New York Times even reported that 95% of all print, video, radio, and live television news were programs or stories against President Trump.
Today we are challenged with a great decision, maybe the greatest since 1860, on November 3rd we will have an election that chooses between the policies values and thoughts of Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump, or those of a 47 year career politician, who has really no unique vision of his own, or achievements in those 47 years that stand out, that are worthy of the office to lead this nation into its future.
More than anything Reagan and Trump both have a vision for the greatness of the United States, the uniqueness of this country among all other nations of the world, it’s that unique spirit that sets us apart, not the size of our military or economy, or even going to the moon and beyond, it’s the spirit of 335 million Americans, the spirit of the United States and the people who make up this nation that is on the ballot on November 3, 2020.
The way I see it, we can choose greatness, excellence, a country that remains that “shining city upon a hill” to lead the world by example, not by military rule. A nation that leads the world by achievement, not bureaucracy, a country that still offers everybody the opportunity to be the best person, the best family, the best “whatever” they can possibly be, with nothing standing in their way.