Editorials

The Donald is no Ronald

This December 1986, file photo shows first lady Nancy Reagan holding the Reagans’ pet Rex, a King Charles spaniel, as she and President Reagan walk on the White House South lawn. GOP vice presidential candidate Mike Pence says Donald Trump connects with Americans like Reagan did.
This December 1986, file photo shows first lady Nancy Reagan holding the Reagans’ pet Rex, a King Charles spaniel, as she and President Reagan walk on the White House South lawn. GOP vice presidential candidate Mike Pence says Donald Trump connects with Americans like Reagan did. AP

Donald Trump’s remarks on NATO and Russia have shown a lack of historic perspective, but now his running mate’s remarks are doing the same.

In a visit to Raleigh on Thursday, Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence compared Donald Trump to Ronald Reagan.

“Not since Ronald Reagan in my lifetime has there been a man or woman at the national level who has heard the frustrations and the aspirations of the American people the way (Trump) does,” Pence said. “He’s distinctly American. He makes some of those people in Europe just crazy.”

We agree that Trump has had an unsettling effect on people in Europe – and in the United States – but saying he’s on par with Reagan as a figure both responding to and leading a national movement is a stretch, even for a running mate whose job is to pump up his presidential candidate.

In thematic terms, the differences between Trump and Reagan are night and day. Trump paints a picture of a nation lost in the dark. Reagan said it’s morning in America. Trump appeals to anger. Reagan appealed to national pride. It’s a big difference. Pence may not see it, but voters likely will.

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