Former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas drew a swift and intense response with a provocative declare on Tuesday: President Trump, he wrote, is just like Winston Churchill, considered one of historical past’s most iconic leaders.
Mr. Huckabee had simply watched “Darkest Hour,” a movie about Churchill. It was, he wrote on Twitter, a reminder of “what actual management seems like.”
“Churchill was hated by his personal get together, opposition get together, and press,” he tweeted. “Feared by King as reckless, and despised for his bluntness. However in contrast to Neville Chamberlain, he didn’t retreat. We had a Chamberlain for eight yrs; in @realDonaldTrump we’ve a Churchill.”
Likening trendy leaders to Chamberlain and Churchill — one thing Mr. Huckabee has executed earlier than — is at all times a loaded proposition. Chamberlain, who preceded Churchill as prime minister of Britain, tried to appease Hitler by conceding Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland area to Nazi Germany within the 1938 Munich Settlement, and his title has come to be synonymous with weak spot within the face of evil.
Churchill, against this, was an officer within the British Military throughout World Warfare I; led Britain via World Warfare II as prime minister from 1940 to 1945; and dealt with a number of overseas coverage crises in a second time period as prime minister from 1951 to 1955. He was recognized for his talent as an orator and author, and received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953.
So it was unsurprising that the feedback by Mr. Huckabee, whose daughter, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is the White Home press secretary, stirred up Twitter.
“Certain. Churchill served his nation 55 years in parliament, 31 years as a minister and 9 as pm,” Kristian Tonning Riise, a member of Norway’s Parliament, wrote in a tweet appreciated greater than 19,000 occasions. “He was current in 15 battles and acquired 14 medals of bravery. He was considered one of historical past’s most gifted orators and received the Nobel Literature Prize for his writing. Completely similar factor.”
Mr. Huckabee didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Tuesday night.
Historians stated that whereas Churchill and Mr. Trump shared sure traits, the broader comparability was unsupported.
It’s true that Churchill made many political enemies earlier than World Warfare II, stated Susan Pedersen, a professor of British historical past at Columbia College. He was additionally “extra self-regarding and fewer inclined to compromise than most profitable British politicians,” she stated, and “had a hard-right view of British nationwide and imperial curiosity.”
“He was mainly within the wilderness in 1939, and had world historical past and circumstance not discovered him, that may have been the top of the story,” Dr. Pedersen wrote in an electronic mail. “Fortunately for him, and for many people, his peculiar attributes and the wants of the time got here collectively. However that occurred partly as a result of, for all his idiosyncrasy, he had actual mental and political strengths: He was clever, literate, well-versed in historical past, had lengthy expertise in authorities, and knew what he stood for.”
The comparability to Mr. Trump, she wrote, is “ridiculous” — the identical adjective David Del Testa, a historian at Bucknell College, used to explain the accompanying comparability of President Barack Obama to Neville Chamberlain.
Timothy Riley, director and chief curator of the Nationwide Churchill Museum at Westminster School in Missouri, stated that Churchill “was daring and keen about his beliefs” and, very similar to Mr. Trump, “was not afraid to talk his personal thoughts and ruffle a number of feathers alongside the way in which.” However for Churchill, Mr. Riley stated, “the best process, his ‘supreme process,’ was to convey nations collectively to assist peace and prosperity and, in the course of the Second World Warfare, to defeat tyranny.”
And Dr. Del Testa stated that after World Warfare I, Churchill’s “self-celebratory fashion” was tempered by a newfound humility.
“He was attempting to maintain Britain robust and create a world order that was robust for Britain, however he was additionally acutely aware more and more within the 1920s and 1930s of a world order that might be destroyed by populist dictators,” he stated. “His personal tendency towards self-celebration softened when he turned conscious of the bigger world round him, that it actually wasn’t a sport, but it surely was humanly necessary.”
Maybe extra vital than any of those particular contrasts, Mr. Riley stated, is the timing of Mr. Huckabee’s comparability. It’s a lot too early, he stated, to attempt to attract a comparability between Churchill — whose profession in public service spanned greater than half a century and two world wars — and Mr. Trump, who has been in workplace for lower than a 12 months.
Among the many qualities Churchill is understood for are “his perseverance, his resilience and his long-term view of historical past,” Mr. Riley stated, and “all of these qualities, I believe, are finest judged after a while.”