Trump Is No Roosevelt

The recent letter titled “A Real Progressive” is inaccurate and beyond misleading when it calls Trump a progressive akin to Teddy Roosevelt. In fact, it would be difficult to find two more different people.

Colonel Roosevelt is famous for cherishing personal honor, family, and fidelity; he eagerly pursued a military combat experience (despite being severely near-sighted), was an avid amateur naturalist, is the father of modern environmental conservation, and was a champion against the concentration of wealth. In every one of these areas, Trump is the opposite: He is a compulsive liar, brags about his philandering, avoided military service, appears to have no inkling about what science means, is encouraging and fostering the dismantlement of the environmental conservation programs that Roosevelt founded, and is doing his best to concentrate (at least his) wealth.

Can you imagine Trump camping with John Muir and establishing “150 national forests, 51 federal bird reserves, four national game preserves, five national parks and 18 national monuments on over 230 million acres of public land” as Roosevelt did? Roosevelt said: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president … is morally treasonable to the American public” and “No man is above the law and no man is below it: nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it.” It’s not difficult to find instances of Trump taking issue with these assertions. And of course, while Trump inherited the “big stick” that Roosevelt famously encouraged, he dangerously does not “speak softly” as Roosevelt also advocated.

It is a safe bet that if Roosevelt were alive, he would be appalled and aghast that an openly anti-progressive, proudly amoral, and incompetent character like Trump is in the White House, and worse, that so many rank and file Americans tolerate and approve of such venality and general lack of character in our president. The Trump camp represents the antithesis of the values Roosevelt cherished.