In December 2016, former House Speaker John Boehner compared then President-elect Trump to the 26th President of the United States, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt. The former House Speaker said Trump’s confident persona resembles that of the Progressive Era reformer, Teddy Roosevelt. The mainstream media heavily criticized Boehner’s comparison, but there is more than just a kernel of truth in his statement.
Like Trump, Teddy was a Manhattan millionaire with a bombastic personality who burst on the American political scene with a fiery populist message that Washington was corrupt, Wall Street had forsaken and forgotten Main Street, and “he” was the only person capable of restoring America to past greatness. The former Rough Rider confounded the establishment of the Republican Party and refused to toe the party line. Sound familiar?
Compared to past presidents, Trump and Teddy share the most striking similarities specifically in their upbringing. Both leaders were born in New York City to prominent families with successful businesses, and both were motivated by great ambition. Teddy set his sights on politics early on, and Trump sought to expand his family business build a brand beyond Queens. Both men stood on the shoulders of their family’s success to become something greater.
Personality wise, Trump and Teddy have been both described by observers as “straight talkers” and share a mutual disdain for political correctness. We all know Trump’s greatest hits like “Lyin [sic] Ted,” “Little Marco,” “Low Energy Jeb,” and of course, “Crooked Hillary.” Teddy also had his repertoire of insults.
Teddy once boldly described his predecessor, William McKinley, as having “no more backbone than a chocolate éclair.” He also had a few choice words for Woodrow Wilson and called the former President a “Byzantine logothete backed by flubdugs and mollycoddles.” Obviously, Trump and Teddy would have had a few laughs trading barbs.
Policy wise, both men also have similarities. President Trump made immigration a central issue to his presidential campaign , and to this day, he is lampooned by the media for being “anti-immigrant,” but by the media’s standards, so was Teddy. Teddy famously said that “we cannot have too much immigration of the right sort, and we should have none whatsoever of the wrong,” and that during the vetting of immigrants, the only factor that should be considered is “a man’s fitness for citizenship… the individual quality of the individual man.”
Teddy’s position nicely aligns with President Trump’s view that immigrants to the Untied States must accept and adopt the American culture. Save to say if Teddy were alive today, he would be called “an intolerant racist” by the left. To be accurate, Teddy inspires different opinion among Conservatives.
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