Mr. Trump, I knew Ronald Reagan. And you’re no Ronald Reagan!
Of course, I am stealing that line — with a twist.
Donald Trump shouldn’t mind. He’s been stealing my dad for his own purposes. Trump frequently invokes Ronald Reagan’s name to defend his sudden, 180-degree switch from being a life-long, pro-Clinton Democrat to a Reagan Republican.
Both men did make a switch, but almost all the similarities between the two end there. Ronald Reagan’s odyssey from Hollywood liberal to conservative backer took place over almost two decades.
Starting with his 1964 “Time for Choosing” speech that galvanized Americans for Barry Goldwater, dad began a 16-year effort of crisscrossing America to support conservative candidates for office. My dad also served eight years as California’s governor. When he ran for President, he had a proven conservative track record.
Donald Trump doesn’t have one. In fact, Trump still can’t explain his sudden change from being a liberal Democrat. When dad ran in 1980, Trump donated the maximum amount to Jimmy Carter. As the Wall Street Journal reported, Trump also donated to a PAC for Walter Mondale, who ran against dad in 1984.Trump has criticized some candidates for their indiscretions made during their childhood. But what can you say for a grown adult who supported both Carter and Mondale over Ronald Reagan?
One of my dad’s most important lessons to me was how to uncover a phony. He told me not to judge people by what they say; judge them by what they actually do. As President, dad used this “trust but verify” principle on the Soviets and it worked. Voters today should apply Reagan’s verify principle on Trump.Read the rest of Michael Reagan's op-ed HERE.
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