President Trump has been compared to two of the world’s most vicious murderers and villains: Hitler and Stalin.
Let me try another comparison, one with the man whose bust has recently been placed back in the Oval Office: Winston Churchill.
Leftists will scoff at the comparison, but most of Winston’s supporters came from the right. The Huffington Puffington Post lambasted the comparison, which was made during the presidential campaign by Rev. Jerry Falwell Jr., calling it one of the “growing list of Hail Mary passes by the campaign and its allies.” I guess those Hail Marys worked out pretty well for Trump.
Both Trump and Churchill came from wealthy families. As young men, neither was a particularly good student.
The British leader changed parties several times during his political career–much like Trump–and ended up as a conservative.
Many leaders and historians consider Churchill a racist for his views toward Gandhi and the insistence that India remain part of the British Empire. Trump and his supporters have repeatedly been characterized as racists.
Churchill always put Britain first in war and peace. Both Trump and Churchill tried to warn about the greatly weakened military of each country—a weakness both sought to correct. Churchill fought the Nazis; Trump plans to defeat Muslim extremists.
The two leaders clearly share a similar temperament—one that does not suffer fools gladly.
Here are some of Churchill’s more famous quotes—most of which have fewer than 140 characters. Some of them sound a lot like Trump’s stump speech and tweets.
–Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
–If you’re going through hell, keep going.
–You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.
–A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
–Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty.
Clearly, there are subjects on which Churchill and Trump disagree, particularly trade. Churchill opposed tariffs on trading partners and extended government-subsidized social programs.
Trump is no Churchill yet. That remains to be seen. But the comparison with Churchill rings far more accurately than the other names Trump’s detractors use.
Christopher Harper, a longtime journalist, teaches media law.