While President Donald Trump’s most loyal Republican sycophants insultingly compare his recent statement on Iran to former President Ronald Reagan’s “Tear Down This Wall” speech, one of Reagan’s closest staffers made it clear on Thursday just how his former boss would feel about Trump and the GOP today.
Mark Weinberg worked on Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign and worked in Reagan’s White House as his personal assistant and assistant press secretary before going on to even work for Reagan during his post-presidency. So, he knows more about the man than most.
Ever since Trump delivered a statement regarding the Iranian missile attack on two military bases in Iraq on Wednesday, his Republican supporters have been comparing him to Reagan, especially Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
But how would Reagan feel about Trump today? And how would he feel about the Republican Party?
Weinberg is uniquely qualified to answer those questions, which he did in an op-ed published by The Bulwark.
“Because I am a Reagan Republican, I do not support Donald Trump and do not wish to see him elected to a second term,” Weinberg wrote. “I worked for President Reagan for many years: initially in his 1980 campaign, then in the White House, and finally in his post-presidency office in Los Angeles. I knew him well. And I am absolutely certain he would be appalled by how Donald Trump conducts himself in the presidency.”
“Ronald Reagan had a reverence for the office of the presidency,” he continued. “He thought of himself as the temporary custodian of a sacred trust that required him to treat every citizen—whether they wished him well or ill—with the utmost respect; to act in a way that earns our country the respect of allies and fear of adversaries; to support the pillars of our democracy, including the rule of law, a free press, and an independent judiciary; and to be an example to which parents could point their children.”
“For those reasons (and I suspect many more), I am convinced Reagan would conclude that Trump should not have a second term,” he wrote. “Reagan probably wouldn’t campaign for whomever the Democrats nominate to run against Trump, but he would hope that the voters would do what’s best for the country.”
It sounds like a bit of a cop-out. After all, if anti-Trump Republicans truly believe that Trump should no longer be in office, they should work to make sure the opposing candidate wins in November, not merely hope that voters will do it, even if it means campaigning and voting for the Democratic nominee.
As for how Reagan would feel about Republicans supporting Trump no matter what, Weinberg also has an answer.
“Reagan would no doubt be troubled by congressional Republicans’ mindless fealty to Trump,” he wrote, going on to note that “Reagan would be mystified by why rank-and-file Republican voters remain under his spell.”
Indeed, he’d probably be very disappointed by Senate Republicans’ efforts to rig the impeachment trial in Trump’s favor despite the overwhelming evidence and witness testimony against him.
Weinberg even believes Reagan might have switched parties as he did once before.
“Reagan would, I think, sadly feel like history was repeating,” he concluded. “He started his political career as a Democrat but over time became disenchanted with that party’s principles and policies and so switched his registration to the GOP. When asked why he switched, he famously said, “I didn’t leave the Democratic party, the Democratic party left me.” Looking at today’s politics, I think Reagan would say that, once again, his political party lost its way, left him, and is no longer worthy of his support.”
Reagan would not be welcome in today’s Republican Party. It’s the party of Trump now, and it’s up to the American people to stop it before it’s too late.
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