Recently, President Donald Trump compared himself to “Abraham Lincoln and many of our greatest presidents.” But the most notable highlight of his Lincoln delusion happened during his inauguration when Trump was sworn in using the “Lincoln Bible,” the same book used by Lincoln during his inauguration.
Despite the constant comparisons by Trump and his supporters to President Lincoln, the two men could not have been more different. Trump grew up pampered and spoiled by the privilege of third generation wealth; Lincoln was born in a log cabin in Kentucky. As Trump enjoyed the finest toys and accommodations, Lincoln’s family was squatting on public land in Perry County, Indiana, when he was just eight years old. Trump had his real estate “career” handed to him on a silver platter by his rich daddy, whereas Lincoln worked as a manual laborer, shopkeeper, postmaster, general store owner, and a lawyer before becoming president. And it’s likely that he held other jobs as well.
There is no end to the list of differences between these two presidents, and while Trump pretends to understand Lincoln’s legacy, the former president, also known as “Honest Abe,” proved that he fully understood a man like Trump.
From one of his earliest speeches delivered in 1838, a 28-year-old Lincoln gave a lecture to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, on “The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions. In his speech, Lincoln voiced his concerns about the devastation that could be wrought upon America should “an Alexander, a Caesar or a Napoleon” come into power.
When Lincoln tried to surmise what type of danger could threaten the existence of the U.S. and “by what means shall we fortify against it,” he dismissed the idea of “some transatlantic military giant” toppling the nation. Instead, he argued that:
“…The approach of danger to be expected … if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad.”
He warned that:
“…If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.”
Within Lincoln’s explanation lay an eerie premonition detailing Trump’s rise to power. From Think Progress:
“It is to deny, what the history of the world tells us is true, to suppose that men of ambition and talents will not continue to spring up amongst us. And, when they do, they will as naturally seek the gratification of their ruling passion, as others have so done before them.”
The most ambitious men during the birth of our nation who ‘sought celebrity and fame, and distinction … expected to find them in the success of that experiment.’ But that time has passed. ‘The question then, is, can that gratification be found in supporting and maintaining an edifice that has been erected by others? Most certainly it cannot.’”
Such a man “sees no distinction in adding story to story, upon the monuments of fame, erected to the memory of others,” but rather “thirsts and burns for distinction.”
“Distinction will be his paramount object, and [with] nothing left to be done in the way of building up, he would set boldly to the task of pulling down.”
It’s incredible how much insight that a young Abraham Lincoln had regarding the type of force that could ultimately destroy America. However, his warning is made even more tragic by the fact that so many so-called “Republicans” have chosen to abandon Lincoln’s principles in favor of the very type of man he warned us to avoid.
And the idea that many would even dare suggest that Trump somehow measures up to Lincoln’s stature in any way, shape, or form is the ultimate insult to the man whose legacy misguided Republicans so casually champion as the foundation of their party.