Mike Huckabee is wrong to compare President Trump with Winston Churchill.
Churchill was hated by his own party, opposition party, and press. Feared by King as reckless, and despised for his bluntness. But unlike Neville Chamberlain, he didn't retreat. We had a Chamberlain for 8 yrs; in @realDonaldTrump we have a Churchill.— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) December 26, 2017
The first part of that statement is very simplistic, but at least a tad fair: Former President Barack Obama was a weak leader on the international stage who did much to invite and enable adversarial challenge.
Yet Trump and Churchill have very little in common. Don't get me wrong, my intention here is not to criticize or belittle Trump. However, Trump and Churchill's variable life experiences, interests, styles, and character all speak to divergence rather than commonality. Here are five major differences.
1.) Drinking and eating habits
Possessing an exceptionally strong liver (he lived to 90 years old), Churchill daily drank copious amounts of whiskey, wine, champagne, and brandy. For Churchill, alcohol was as much about medicating and philosophically liberating the mind as it was about social enjoyment.
President Trump, however, does not partake in any alcohol whatsoever. Moreover, the president's choice of steaks (well done with an excess of ketchup) would surely have revolted Winston Churchill. An Anglo-American gentleman, after all, has his steaks cooked blue, rare, or medium rare, but never well done.
Ketchup? Forget it.
2.) Military experience
While Churchill had a military career, Trump avoided service in Vietnam due to a heel spur. Again, don't get me wrong, I can speak personally to the fact that the U.S. military bureaucracy loves rejecting otherwise qualified applicants and refuses to give them medical waivers, so I don't think it's fair to label Trump a draft dodger.
Still, Churchill's military record does stand him apart.
From what is now Pakistan to Sudan, Churchill showed courage and skill fighting on the front lines. Later, stretching the barriers between journalism and military service in the Second Boer War, Churchill even escaped an enemy prison camp!
3.) Relationship with the establishment
Trump continues to revel in waging war on the political establishment, but Churchill's lifelong mission was to earn the respect of and defend the British establishment.
Churchill regarded the Royal family and the British empire as the incarnate constitutions of Britishness: the power of which was to be defended and advanced at all costs. Indeed, one of Churchill's greatest regrets was the realization that World War II had drained Britain of the ability to maintain its foreign outposts.
Trump seems to think that the establishment must not simply be vanquished, but remade under a new Trump-feudal system.
Trump is not terribly predisposed to humility.
Conversely, where Churchill was a man of sizable ego, he recognized the need to woo partners and look to the long term. Addressing Congress in December 1941, for example, Churchill recognized that the United States was the key to unlocking victory in war and a new global order for freedom.
In turn, praising their "Olympian fortitude," Churchill wooed the assembled members and senators with a speech full of pro-American anecdotes and bravado. And he drew unity between the shared languages and democratic cultures of the new allies, "What kind of a people do they think we are?" he asked.
Even amidst a new world war, one imagines that Trump would be highly unlikely to make a similar speech in Britain. On the contrary...
.@Theresa_May, don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2017
Winston Churchill loved to read, write, and speak, and was skilled at all three.
But in his own way, Trump has also shown the remarkable power of tweeting and speaking plainly. And if political success is to be measured by things achieved, Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton surely shows that he is a man who has his own way with words.
The difference between the two men, then, is rendered in style. Where Churchill reveled in long-form speeches and references to deep anecdotes from history and philosophy, Trump revels in a plainer language of 140-character power.
Of course, Winston and Donald do have one thing in common: history has shown both to possess rather robust senses of humor. And if nothing else, Trump is certainly more Churchillian than the cretinous fiend/borg seeking to succeed Theresa May in Downing Street.
See also: another famous Winston.