Quotes From Past Republican Presidents That Trump and His Supporters Completely Ignore

While Donald Trump is undoubtedly a Republican, the once great “party of Lincoln” has been dead for quite a long time. Heck, today’s GOP isn’t even the “party of Ronald Reagan” anymore.



That said, I still enjoy pointing out to Republicans, and especially Trump supporters, just how twisted today’s GOP is when compared to the days when it was actually a great party, and even the days when it was simply much less crazy than it is today (aka the Reagan/Bush years).

As someone who values putting things into perspective, I think it’s important to highlight how radical, unhinged, paranoid, and often times outright crazy modern day Republicans have become.

So, in the spirit of doing that, I thought I’d list a few quotes from previous Republican presidents that Donald Trump and most of his supporters couldn’t care less about.

Abraham Lincoln:

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.

I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in.

Truth is generally the best vindication against slander.

There can be glory in failure and despair in success. The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.

Teddy Roosevelt:

The only man who never makes mistakes is the man who never does anything.

To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.

It is better for the Government to help a poor man to make a living for his family than to help a rich man make more profit for his company.

I had always felt that if there were a serious war I wished to be in a position to explain to my children why I did take part in it, and not why I did not take part in it.

To play the demagogue for purposes of self-interest is a cardinal sin against the people in a democracy, exactly as to play the courtier for such purposes is a cardinal sin against the people under other forms of government.

Dwight D. Eisenhower:

We cannot safely confine government programs to our own domestic progress and our own military power. We could be the wealthiest and the most mighty nation and still lose the battle of the world if we do not help our world neighbors protect their freedom and advance their social and economic progress. It is not the goal of the American people that the United States should be the richest nation in the graveyard of history.

I have no use for those — regardless of their political party — who hold some foolish dream of spinning the clock back to days when unorganized labor was a huddled, almost helpless mass.

Today in America unions have a secure place in our industrial life. Only a handful of unreconstructed reactionaries harbor the ugly thought of breaking unions. Only a fool would try to deprive working men and women of the right to join the union of their choice.

We need an adequate defense, but every arms dollar we spend above adequacy has a long-term weakening effect upon the nation and its security.

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road. the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

I believe that the United States as a government, if it is going to be true to its own founding documents, does have the job of working toward that time when there is no discrimination made on such inconsequential reason as race, color, or religion.

Censorship, in my opinion, is a stupid and shallow way of approaching the solution to any problem. Though sometimes necessary, as witness a professional and technical secret that may have a bearing upon the welfare and very safety of this country, we should be very careful in the way we apply it, because in censorship always lurks the very great danger of working to the disadvantage of the American nation.

Ronald Reagan:

When the Labor Department is forced to relent and let these visitors do this work it is of course all legal. But it makes one wonder about the illegal alien fuss. Are great numbers of our unemployed really victims of the illegal alien invasion or are those illegal tourists actually doing work our own people won’t do? One thing is certain in this hungry world; no regulation or law should be allowed if it results in crops rotting in the field for lack of harvesters. (Source)

I supported this bill. I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and who have lived here even though sometime back they may have entered illegally. (Source)

I do believe that an AK-47, a machine gun, is not a sporting weapon or needed for defense of a home. (Source)

We establish no religion in this country. We command no worship. We mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are and must remain separate. (Source)

While we recognize that assault weapon legislation will not stop all assault weapon crime, statistics prove that we can dry up the supply of these guns, making them less accessible to criminals. We urge you to listen to the American public and to the law enforcement community and support a ban on the further manufacture of these weapons. (Reagan was part of a joint letter to Congress urging passage of a ban on military-style assault weapons.)

I though about including quotes from George W. Bush, but I think I’ve made my point. There’s a very clear contrast in the quotes from these past Republican presidents and what the vast majority of conservative voters seem to support now.


This is a party that’s gone from pro-civil rights, pro-labor and being rational about defense spending and immigration — to essentially the complete opposite of all of that.

Can you imagine a Republican president today backing amnesty, talking highly of labor unions, supporting bans on certain assault weapons, or saying we needed to be more responsible with our defense spending?

They wouldn’t even crack the top 10 during the primary.

Will these quotes make any sort of a difference in the minds of Trump supporters? Of course not. They’ve proven time and time again that nothing factual or rational matters to them, all they care about and believe is what Trump says.

Still, I felt that seeing some rational sentiments from previous Republican leaders would help to highlight the devastating descent into delusion driving today’s Republican Party.

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Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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