When confronted with a moral dilemma, Christians ask themselves: What would Jesus do? Our politicians have secular patron saints they turn to in times of trouble. Democrats honor the memory of FDR, who rescued the nation from the Great Depression and the world from fascism.
Republicans revere Ronald Reagan, who limited government and defeated communism. Therefore, in these times of domestic division and international turmoil, President Trump might ask himself: What would Reagan do?
In 1984 Reagan declared it “morning in America.” Trump, in his inaugural address, lamented the “American carnage.” Reagan promoted a “win-win” approach to negotiations. Trump believes in winners. Reagan referred to NATO as the “cornerstone” of American security. Trump has called NATO “obsolete.”
Reagan advocated free trade. Trump says we have been “fooled by so-called free trade.” Reagan sought to eliminate nuclear weapons. Trump is building our nuclear arsenal.
Reagan defended Soviet dissidents and journalists. Trump makes excuses for Russian oligarchs and Saudi autocrats, and welcomes their fawning praise. Reagan fought for the victory of democracy abroad. Trump promotes blood-and-soil nationalism at home.
In short, Trump is no Reagan — or Roosevelt. While these two presidents come from different sides of the political spectrum, they share certain traits that define the best of America: a quiet confidence, a conviction in the triumph of open societies and a belief in the American Dream. Would that the current occupant of the White House share this dream.