Trump Like Reagan? This GOP Leader Thinks So
Donald Trump has compared his potentially transformative, magnetic candidacy to Ronald Reagan. At least one man who remembers Reagan fondly agrees: former New York Senator Al D'Amato:
Former Sen. Alphonse D’Amato (R-N.Y.) says he sees similarities between Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump and former President Ronald Reagan.
“You know, 30 years ago there was a movement started by someone who establishment Republicans were opposed to,” D’Amato said of Reagan in a radio interview with John Catsimatidis on "The Cats Roundtable" on New York's AM-970.
“Well let me tell you, I think Trump has got a movement that’s picking up steam, and once a movement picks up that kind of steam, pretty hard to stop.”
The former New York senator praised Trump’s decision to hold a fundraiser for veterans instead of attending Thursday's GOP presidential debate on Fox News.
“He demonstrated that he’s not going to be pushed around,” D’Amato said.
He added that Trump’s decision to include the last two Republican winners of the Iowa caucuses — Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum — was politically “brilliant.”
Trump decided to skip last week’s Fox News debate after a harsh statement released by the network mocked him for not wanting to participate in a debate that anchor Megyn Kelly would be hosting.
This is an interesting perspective. It should be noted that Ronald Reagan's son, Michael, is horrified by the comparison. In an exclusive interview with Opportunity Lives, Reagan noted:
In its symposium condemning Donald Trump, National Review pointed out that your father’s conversion to conservatism spanned decades and that he demonstrated a real commitment to the policies and ideals of the GOP before running for president. Trump, they say, has done none of the intellectual heavy lifting to truly understand and embrace conservatism. Do you agree with this assessment?
Absolutely. Name one person Trump has helped get elected. Name a Republican he’s gone out and given a speech for to help them get elected. You can’t. You can’t find one. Name one Lincoln Dinner, one Reagan dinner, one fundraiser for the Republican Party?
Where has he put his money? With Hillary Clinton. With Rahm Emmanuel. With Jimmy Carter. With Walter Mondale. It’s interesting you don’t see many Republican names on the board of who he donates to. What about the lifting to help the party win? He hasn’t done anything.
D'Amato's own background is worth considering. Alphonse is the typical Washington insider, a Senator turned lobbyist whose only lasting legacy is that he'll be the last Republican Senator from New York for 100 years. As part of New York's corrupt Rockefeller Republican Machine, he helped elect candidates whose utter disregard for anything but patronage positions and the public pensions that come with them .While these men divvied up taxpayer pie, jobs in more conservative upstate New York dried up, spurring a mass exodus of moderates for places like Florida and Pennsylvania, turning New York from a purple state into a deep blue electoral vote freebie for Democrats ensuring that the only voters left were those who relied desperately on government jobs and public assistance.
More recently, D'Amato backed Democrat Andrew Cuomo over principled Republican Rob Astorino, and is the force behind "Republicans for Cuomo," a coalition of major Republican donors whose financial backing was a major boon to the Democratic governor. He continued his defense of Cuomo even after the Democratic Governor said there was "no place" for pro liife, pro Second Amendment voters in New York, and while he was under investigation for silencing a corruption investigation that came too close to ensnaring his supporters. None of this seemed to bother D'Amato, whose commitment to conservatism ends where the interests of Park Strategies, his bipartisan lobbying firm, begin.
This lends some interesting context to the statement. Is D'Amato making it because it's true, or because he believes it's politically advantageous to align himself with the presumptive GOP frontrunner? Trump's poll numbers suggest it's the latter. For all his faults, D'Amato is a political survivor, and it's safe to say that everything the man does is strategic. Whether or not Trump is in fact Reaganlike, this comparison speaks to the belief, and perhaps reality, that Trump is the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, and perhaps the presidency.