Reagan would denounce Trump’s attacks on NATO, democratic allies

Reagan would denounce Trump’s attacks on NATO, democratic allies
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It is a dark day in the history of conservatism when a self-proclaimed Republican president attacks democratic allies around the world and offers praise to dictators across the oceans.

I propose that every previous president in the history of our republic would deplore and condemn Trump and his presidency.


Today, let's focus on one former president, Ronald Reagan, who was a leader in support of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and would harshly condemn Trump’s attacks against our democratic allies as well as the assist he provides to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, who seeks the destruction of NATO.


In the coming days, Trump will meet with our NATO allies after sending many of them insulting letters and threatening to withdraw American troops from Europe in its defense against the Russian Bear.

Trump, who has no reputation as a friend of democracy and human rights, will also meet with the Russian dictator who continues to attack American democracy despite receiving repeated praise from America’s commander in chief.

It is the juxtaposition of these two events, Trump’s meeting with NATO and Trump’s meeting with Putin, that will dramatize why Ronald Reagan would feel such scorn, contempt and anger about so many things Trump does.

I am a Kennedy Democrat, not a Reagan Republican. But I would debate anyone, anywhere, anytime, about what Reagan would think of Trump. 

It is noteworthy that Reagan’s son Michael has said that his father would never have voted for Trump and that his daughter Patti recently wrote in the Washington Post about the many reasons her father would deplore Trump.

Ronald Reagan strongly believed in the democratic alliance and strongly supported NATO. He would be outraged, scandalized and disgusted that an American president is viewed by democratic allies as a danger to, not a leader of, the free world.

Reagan strongly believed that Western democracies should join together in their common defense against the threat posed to American and European freedom by Russia. Reagan would be outraged and contemptuous of any American president who repeatedly undermines and divides the NATO alliance.

Reagan believed that a major source of our security and a statement about our values is our close friendship and democratic alliance with our neighbors — Canada and Mexico. He would be appalled, angered and disgusted by Trump’s repeated insults and attacks against our democratic neighbors.

Reagan believed in tough trade negotiating but would be outraged and scandalized that Trump threatens a global trade war against our strongest democratic allies in the world.

Reagan believed that Russia posed a significant threat to American security and would never offer praise to a Russian dictator who is attacking American elections. 

Reagan believed that Russian aggression against democratic nations poses a danger to Western security and democracy. He would be sickened that any American president could would threaten to withdraw large numbers of troops from Europe, where they are stationed to defend Europe from Russia.

Reagan believed in protecting the sovereignty of nations from Russian attack. He would be outraged that any American president could even consider recognizing the illegal Russian annexation of Crimea.

Reagan would be outraged by the behavior of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesStefanik shake-up jump-starts early jockeying for committee posts McCarthy unveils House GOP task forces, chairs Former GOP operative installed as NSA top lawyer resigns MORE (R-Calif.), who has turned the committee into a widely discredited partisan charade that spends more time undermining American counterintelligence than investigating the Russian attack against America.

Reagan would be disgusted when Trump repeatedly slanders leaders of the investigations (who happen to be Republicans) of the Russian attack against America.

When Trump falsely accuses these investigations of seeking to help Democrats, Reagan would react with righteous fury and angry wrath in speaking the truth on this matter.

As Trump prepares to leave for Europe to meet with NATO leaders and with Putin, conservative Republicans face a moment of truth. Do they side with Trump, or NATO? Do they side with democracy or  praise dictatorships? 

Do they stand with political prisoners who battle dictatorships, or do they stand with dictators who commit murder or torture against them?

Ronald Reagan would denounce Trump’s attacks against NATO nations and democratic allies. As Trump heads to Europe, every principled and true conservative should stand with Reagan and all the other presidents who came before. 

They believed the American leader should be the leader of the free world, not an apologist for dictators seeking to destroy it.

Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.