WASHINGTON (Talk Media News) – Many people have wanted to compare Donald Trump to Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan was governor of California – but like Donald Trump, he was not a career politician, coming from the world of acting. He was president of the Screen Actors Guild, a professional union that moved him into politics. Not beginning as a state legislator or a mayor, Ronald Reagan, like Trump, came from a world completely different than politics.
One way to compare both of these men would be their ideas about walls. Reagan gave his famous “Tear down this wall” speech on June 12, 1987, in Berlin, Germany.
Even though some in his administration thought the speech might be divisive, President Reagan had his own mind, and gave the speech anyway. This is one similarity he shares with Donald Trump; they both make/made their own decisions.
I will not reproduce Reagan’s entire speech, but if you compare the tone and substance of what President Reagan said to Candidate Trump, they are worlds apart.
President Reagan: “Today I say: As long as the gate is closed, as long as this scar of a wall is permitted to stand, it is not the German question alone that remains open, but the question of freedom for all mankind.”
He then went on to say, “As I looked out a moment ago from the Reichstag, that embodiment of German unity, I noticed words crudely spray-painted upon the wall, perhaps by a young Berliner, ‘This wall will fall. Beliefs become reality.’ Yes, across Europe, this wall will fall. … For it cannot withstand faith; it cannot withstand truth. The wall cannot withstand freedom.”
President Reagan also said in the 1987 speech, “There is no better way to establish hope for the future than to enlighten young minds, and we would be honored to sponsor summer youth exchanges, cultural events and other programs for young Berliners from the East. Our French and British friends, I’m certain, will do the same. And it’s my hope that an authority can be found in East Berlin to sponsor visits from young people of the Western sectors.”
Youth exchanges? Enlightening young minds? We are hearing none of this from Candidate Trump.
The most famous words of President Reagan’s speech show he was a masterful and wily statesman. He said, “We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”
While Reagan showed a willingness to reach out to Soviets, Donald Trump, on the other hand, has even not been reaching out to Hispanic Americans. In fact, Univision, which caters to the Latino community, has only been granted access twice to press events since mid-winter; the other times they have not been given press credentials.
Candidate Trump said he would build a wall (not tear one down like President Reagan), saying: “I would build a great wall. And nobody builds walls better than me, believe me. And I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great great wall on our southern border, and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall.”
When asked a question by The Washington Post (now banned from events like Univision) he sent them a memo titled “Compelling Mexico to Pay for the Wall.” He details how he would make them pay.
The Post said of his memo, “He would threaten to change a rule under the USA Patriot Act anti-terrorism law to cut off a portion of the funds sent to Mexico through money transfers, commonly known as remittances. The threat would be withdrawn if Mexico made ‘a one-time payment of $5-10 billion’ to pay for the border wall.”
“Our approvals of hundreds of thousands of visas every year is one of our greatest leverage points,” Trump wrote. “We also have leverage through business and tourist visas for important people in the Mexican economy.” He ended the famous Washington Post memo with saying that Mexico had “taken advantage” of the United States for years through “gangs, drug traffickers and cartels” responsible for “the extraordinary daily cost of this criminal activity.”
Trump is not a statesman like Ronald Reagan. He may be the Republican nominee, but that is where the similarities end. One wanted to tear down a wall; the other wants to build one. There is a vast difference between Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump, and walls are just one example.