Seeing the cringe worthy images of Donald Trump in Portsmouth, gathered there with 15 heads of state to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, it got me thinking of the comparison between the orange buffoon and Dwight D Eisenhower, overall commander on D-Day and later, the 34th President of the United States.
Eisenhower and Trump remarkably have one major thing in common – before The Donald, Eisenhower was the only man to be elected President with no prior political experience. And, yes, that’s where the similarities end.
To go through a few basic points of comparison…
Military career – Eisenhower was a career soldier, Supreme Allied Commander in the West during WW2, overseeing Operation Overlord, the liberation of Western Europe and the invasion of Germany. Trump dodged the draft for Vietnam with an alleged fabricated medical complaint.
NATO – Eisenhower was the first Supreme Commander of NATO and sought election in 1953 primarily to counter the anti-NATO stance of Senator Robert Taft. Trump has made no secret of his disdain for NATO, which he once declared was “obsolete” and in his tenure as president has done nothing but try to undermine its position.
China and Korea – Eisenhower campaigned on pledging to bring the Korean War to an end which he did in his first year in office with an armistice with China that is still in force today. Trump has gone out of his way to antagonise China and drive forward a damaging trade war while continually flip-flopping in his attitude to North Korea, alternately calling Kim Jong-un childish names like Little Rocket Man or claiming he’s a “great guy”.
Racial Discrimination – Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne Division into Little Rock, Arkansas to enforce federal laws abolishing segregation in schools when local racist government officials attempted to undermine them. Subsequently, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote to Eisenhower to thank him for his actions, writing “The overwhelming majority of southerners, Negro and white, stand firmly behind your resolute action to restore law and order in Little Rock”.
Trump couldn’t even bring himself to condemn racists rioting in Charlottesville, claiming there were “good people on both sides”. He attempted to implement a ban on Muslims travelling to the US, he claimed Mexicans were rapists and that a Hispanic US judge couldn’t be objective because of his Mexican heritage, he claimed that thousands of Arabs in New Jersey celebrated the attack on 9/11 etc etc…
Personal Life – Eisenhower was happily married to Mamie Doud for 53 years from 1916 until his death in 1969. Trump boasts of grabbing women by the genitals, has paid off porn stars to keep quiet about extra-marital affairs and has said that if a woman won’t sign a pre-nup then “she’s not the wife for you”… what a charmer.
The list could go on but, frankly, what’s the point?
We have come a long way in 75 years in many aspects of life, but in terms of our leaders…? I’ll leave you to make up your own mind.