For Republicans, being compared to Ronald Reagan is something akin to being compared to Jesus. Both figures are revered among Republicans for being nothing like they actually were. Of course, that doesn’t stop many from comparing Donald Trump to Reagan, when pretty much the only things they had in common were being wealthy and having few skills other than being showmen. Okay, perhaps they do have quite a bit in common, but when John McCain was asked by David Axelrod if Trump was like Reagan, his answer was a firmly decisive “no.”
McCain said he found “appalling” Trump’s assertion in an interview earlier this year that the US lacked the moral standing to question Russian President Vladimir Putin’s human rights abuses. “We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think, our country’s so innocent?” Trump said at the time.
“To state that there’s some moral equivalency between an imperfect nation — that’s the United States of America — and Vladimir Putin is appalling,” McCain responded.
“And I think it’s pretty clear that there’s a difference between, well, aren’t we killers and the guy that stood there and said, ‘Mr. Gorbachev, take down this wall,'” he said.
McCain even went so far as to say that in Russia’s interfering in our election, they’ve done something far worse than attack us with conventional weapons.
“It’s one thing to destroy a building with a bomb or inflict damage, but if you destroy the fundamentals of a free and open society, which is what democracy is all about, you inflict incredibly heavier damage,” he said.
Here’s the video:
Reagan, of course, became president during the Cold War, when Russia was the Soviet Union. It was communist instead of a capitalist oligarchy. Getting into bed with Russians then wouldn’t have won him the white Middle America poorly educated vote. Times, though, have changed. Russia is no longer filled with commies and well, we had eight years of a black guy and the very real prospect that the next president would have been a woman. To Trump voters, that’s much scarier than anything a former KGB agent who’s known to kill his political enemies can do.
The fact that McCain is saying this is significant, though. The investigation may be stalled in the House but it’s now in the Senate and there is no Devin Nunes. Even Republicans seem in shock by the actions of the Russians. McCain isn’t the only one. As for Reagan, well, he had a little thing called Iran-Contra which helped him win his election. So, I guess he and Trump have even more than being rich hacks in common. They were both propelled into office by a hostile foreign country.
Featured image via Alex Wong/Getty Images.