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Huckabee Likens Trump to Churchill, Gets Shot Down

Some historians call comparison 'ridiculous'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2017 5:15 AM CST
Huckabee Watches Movie, Compares Trump to Churchill
In this Jan. 31, 2016, photo, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee speaks in West Des Moines, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

(Newser) – Is President Trump the Winston Churchill of our times and Barack Obama the Neville Chamberlain, or does Mike Huckabee need to learn more about history? Some historians suggested the latter after Huckabee watched the new Churchill biographical movie The Darkest Hour and likened Trump to the British wartime leader. "Churchill was hated by his own party, opposition party, and press. Feared by King as reckless, and despised for his bluntness," Huckabee tweeted on Tuesday. "But unlike Neville Chamberlain, he didn't retreat. We had a Chamberlain for 8 yrs; in @realDonaldTrump we have a Churchill." A roundup of reactions:

  • 'Totally same thing.' "Sure. Churchill served his country 55 years in parliament, 31 years as a minister and 9 as pm," tweeted Norwegian lawmaker Kristian Tonning Riise in one of the most popular responses to Huckabee's post. "He was present in 15 battles and received 14 medals of bravery. He was one of history's most gifted orators and won the Nobel Literature Prize for his writing. Totally same thing."

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  • 'Bone spurs permitting.' Many other commenters on social media mocked Huckabee, whose daughter is White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and noted Trump's lack of military service, the Hill reports. "We will fight them on the beaches, bone spurs permitting....." tweeted Peter Smith. Victoria Aveyard tweeted: "While in the British Army (where he actively sought to serve in war zones), Churchill gave skin from his own chest to help graft an injured officer's wound. Trump faked bone spurs."
  • 'Ridiculous.' It's true that Churchill was "more self-regarding and less inclined to compromise than most successful British politicians," Columbia University professor of British history Susan Pedersen tells the New York Times. She says, however, that the comparison to Trump is "ridiculous" because "real intellectual and political strengths" made Churchill an effective wartime leader: "He was intelligent, literate, well-versed in history, had long experience in government, and knew what he stood for."
  • These things take time. Churchill, like Trump, "was bold and passionate about his beliefs" and "was not afraid to speak his own mind and ruffle a few feathers along the way," Timothy Riley of the National Churchill Museum in Missouri tells the Times. But Churchill was also known for "his perseverance, his resilience, and his long-term view of history," which are qualities "best judged after some time," Riley says.
  • 'Bad idea.' Atlantic editor David Frum was one of the harshest critics of Huckabee, who said the movie was an example of "what real leadership looks like," the Independent Journal Review reports. "It's a bad idea to learn your history at the movies," tweeted Frum. He added: "The best part of this is that Trump's own favorite slogan, the whole theme of his presidential campaign, is that of those Americans who turned their back on Britain and Churchill in the 'darkest hour.'"
(Read more Winston Churchill stories.)

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