Monday would have been late President Ronald Reagan’s 106th birthday. I like to think it’s something of a conservative holiday. However, some just aren’t in the holiday spirit. The very man whom some call “the last, best hope to re-Reaganize the GOP” made comments over the weekend that would have abhorred the conservative giant.
These comments come from Bill O’Reilly’s interview with President Trump on Saturday. In the interview, President Trump morally equated American actions with that of well-known thug and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two got on the topic of Trump’s respect for Putin, which prompted O’Reilly to remark that Putin “is a killer.” Trump replied: “There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?”
This is not the first time he’s done this, of course. His respect for Putin became a major issue on the campaign trail, and it has since plagued the confirmation processes for a few his cabinet nominees.
Near the anniversary of Reagan’s birth, this takes on a particular poignancy.
Reagan’s legacy is multifaceted, to be sure, but a major part of that legacy was his willingness to take on the “the evil empire” of the Soviet Union. In a speech delivered to the National Association of Evangelicals in 1983, Reagan decried the very moral equivalence invoked by Trump:
So, I urge you to speak out against those who would place the United States in a position of military and moral inferiority. You know, I’ve always believed that old Screwtape reserved his best efforts for those of you in the church. So, in your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride—the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.
Whatever Trump’s motives in his statements, tossing the United States under the bus should invoke outrage. We lambasted Obama for his “apology tour,” and what Trump does here is no different. On Ronald Reagan’s birthday, let’s ditch the false moral equivalence and preserve the goodness that lies in this “last, best hope of man on earth.”