Donald Trump is Teddy Roosevelt.
Watching Trump eviscerate his opponents and get inside their OODA loops during his post-election victory tour, I can see he’s directly channeling Teddy Roosevelt. All other comparisons are secondary; Trump clearly sees himself as a new Teddy Roosevelt, and is directly trying to mimic him.
T.R. was a “traitor to his class” who led an assault on corruption during his spree and realigned the Republican party towards his vision. It’s him we have to thank for all our (currently little used) anti-trust legislation—his early effort to wrest the economy from the 1% corporatists of big bankers and big corporations in his own day.
And TR was exactly like Trump on foreign policy: speak softy (no foreign wars, negotiate with everyone) but carry a big stick (create a super-powerful military to deter anyone taking advantage of you). In other words, Trump’s foreign policy.
And TR, like Trump, denounced free trade and advocated reciprocal tariffs between nations to protect workers on both sides. Can you say Trump?
Heck, Trump’s recent personal intervention into Carrier AC staying in Indiana even has a TR parallel: The coal strike of 1902, where TR personally intervened. This also demonstrated that TR was ok with union-labor so long as it was well-regulated, much like Trump.
And it’s ol’ TR we have to thank for the idea of a “bully pulpit”; a president using his position to give rousing speeches to support his policy, and thus cut through the media hype and reach voters directly. The media of TR’s time was no less controlled and consolidated than today: TR was dealing with lying scum like warmongering media conglomorator William Randolph Hearst, whose control of the media was so great he created the Spanish-American war.
Heck, TR was such a disruptor and outsider that he led the largest third-party threat in U.S. history, the 1912 Bull Moose party presidential run, much like how Trump flirted with the Reform party for years and, this year, took over the Repubs from the Bush wing.
Unfortunately, for TR, he young when he became President, and his temperament was like Trump’s: never stop working, even unto old age. He was around for many years after his presidency and failed Bull Moose run, and people stopped paying attention to him, except to laugh at him. Trump, being older, has the advantage (if you can call it that) of kicking off soon after his second term ends, thus preventing his becoming a living joke by the media.
I will not be surprised if, among Trump’s papers, we find the biographies and letters of Teddy Roosevelt, heavily underlined and annotated. In fact, I expect it.