Many comparisons are now circulating on the internet comparing Donald Trump to General George S. Patton, to former President Ronald Reagan and many others. In posts earlier this year I compared him to Andrew Jackson and Theodore Roosevelt.
It was my humble privilege to appear on the speaker’s circuit with Ronald Reagan, talking with him backstage and writing his campaign biography when he ran for president.
The Charity Awards, which I helped organize, was really begun at a dinner in his home in 1979, the week before he announced what would be his successful run for the White House. Here’s my take on Trump as Reagan.
Trump as Reagan:
Both men were once Democrats.
Both men were once in show business.
Both men were divorced.
Their stand on the issues is remarkably similar. Both men are pro Life and in the exact same way. Both men defend the Second Amendment. And both men want to reduce spending and taxes.
You will notice that both Reagan and Trump are very strategic in their thinking, they don’t get into the details.
Both men put American jobs first and that makes them unpopular in other countries like Mexico, China and European countries who want those very jobs.
Most dramatic of all, both men are straight shooters.
For example, Ronald Reagan said he wasn’t so sure that it had been the right thing to withdraw support for the Shah of Iran. This statement caused an uproar and was seen as irresponsible. The whole world was outraged. Especially the American media. What was he doing? He was speaking against the newly formed Democratic Islamic State of Iran.
Donald Trump said we should have a temporary ban on Muslim immigration until we can figure things out.
Both men are unashamed in their support for a stronger and safer America. “Make American Great again,” says Trump.
There are some dramatic differences between the two men. Reagan was humble and self-effacing. He went out of his way to avoid personalizing his issues. But in his own way, using humor, he would always counter punch. Perhaps his greatest moment was when they hit him on the age issue.
General Patton talked trash to the enemy, the way Muhammed Ali baited Sonny Liston and it was very effective. It worked. It is similar to Trump talking about Isis.
Reagan was sometimes as brash as Patton and Trump. When he was being sworn in as president Iran promptly released the hostages rather than face the consequences.
Machiavelli once said, “It is sometimes a wise thing for a prince to affect madness.” Nixon used that very device to bring the North Vietnamese to the peace table.
General Patton appeared spontaneous in his remarks and it sometimes got him into trouble but in retrospect he was right about the fact that we would one day have to face Russia anyway and if we had been stronger in dealing with them in 1945, we now know, that Hungary, Czechoslovakia and most of the Balkans could have arguably avoided the nightmare of communist rule where hundreds of thousands of people were imprisoned.
The comparisons of Donald Trump to General George S. Patton are the most problematic for the candidate. I’m not saying that they aren’t true, I just want to point out that Patton couldn’t get elected to anything and couldn’t even keep his job as general – even though he was one of our most tenacious and brilliant commanders. In his army career, Patton’s political skills eventually failed him.
Patton once said, “It is a popular idea that a man is a hero just because he was killed in action. Rather, I think, a man is frequently a fool when he gets killed.” It did not go over very well.
When war hero, Senator John McCain called the thousands of Arizona citizens who had rallied to meet Donald Trump as crazies, Trump shot back, “He was a hero because he was captured. I like people who were not captured.”
Both men have been accused of profanity. Patton said you can’t run an army without profanity.
The one virtue that all of these Trump comparisons have in common is their penchant for strong leadership. Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, George Patton, Ronald Reagan were all dynamic leaders.
One of George Patton’s most famous quotes declared, “Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.” It is vintage Trump.
If you live long enough, history comes back around.