Daily Summary: Uses of the past from Trump’s UN speech, why do we vote on Tuesday, and more

While President Trump’s promise to destroy North Korea has grabbed most of the headlines, he also made pointed uses of the past during his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Monday. Surprisingly for a president who is cutting foreign aid and folding USAID into the State Department, Trump touted the massive (and controversial at the time) Marshall Plan for Europe. Much less surprisingly, he was unequivocal in his statement on the history of communism and “true socialism.”

Trump closed with an extension of his “America first” ethos: he wants other nations to also be more patriotic and more nationalist. Continue reading Daily Summary: Uses of the past from Trump’s UN speech, why do we vote on Tuesday, and more

Daily summary: Immigration and the 1980s, the US and Asia after World War II, and Reagan’s medium-range missile treaty

Today’s summary of political uses of the past includes a series of statements about immigration that use the 1980s as a point of reference. A Democratic representative claimed on Friday that the issue of undocumented immigrants goes “back to the 1980s” and was largely sparked by refugees from El Salvador. From the other side of the aisle comes the claim that the gang MS-13 was imported to the United States from El Salvador. And another Congress member evokes episodes of church groups facing persecution for helping undocumented immigrants.

No surprise that the immigration issue would prompt a few glances in the rearview mirror–the debate is about who is an American, and that issue will always bring history to the fore. Continue reading Daily summary: Immigration and the 1980s, the US and Asia after World War II, and Reagan’s medium-range missile treaty

Mick Mulvaney: Reagan challenged “malaise” and “steered us to a boom”

Mick MulvaneyFor merely suggesting that we can get back to that level [3 percent annual growth], the administration has been criticized as unrealistic. That’s fine with us. We heard the same pessimism 40 years ago, when the country was mired in “stagflation” and “malaise.” But Ronald Reagan dared to challenge that thinking and steered us to a boom that many people thought unachievable. Continue reading Mick Mulvaney: Reagan challenged “malaise” and “steered us to a boom”

Rep. Liz Cheney: “Lessons of the past” support increased defense spending

Mr. Speaker, in closing, I want to read something that Ronald Reagan said back in 1982 on an issue when they were having similar issues and debates and discussions about defense spending.

He said: “Now, I realize that many well-meaning people deplore the expenditure of huge sums of money for military purposes at a time of economic hardship. Continue reading Rep. Liz Cheney: “Lessons of the past” support increased defense spending

Sen. Marco Rubio: “Democracies very rarely start wars”

Marco RubioWe look at the history of our hemisphere, here in the Western Hemisphere, and we see that up until about 25 years ago, most of the nations in the Western Hemisphere were governed by dictators and strongmen on both the left and the right, and few, if any, people in our hemisphere had a role to play in choosing their leaders.

Today, but for the exception of a handful of places–predominantly, Cuba and the Caribbean and some others–almost all of the people of the region get to choose their leaders, and that has been the story of Venezuela up until very recently.

Sometimes they choose leaders who agree with America, and sometimes they do not. But they choose their leaders.

In the end, we know that democracies very rarely start wars because their peoples do not tolerate it.

—Sen. Marco Rubio (R–FL)

Venezuela,  Senate Floor, July 11, 2017

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White House: “Clear parallel” between US-France WWI alliance and “what we’re doing today”

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, let’s keep in mind what the, sort of, centerpiece of the trip is, which is the French National Day and its celebration of the 100th anniversary of US forces entering World War I — an entry which was really decisive, historically.

The French Army had sustained horrendous losses over three years of war; Russia had just fallen out of the war because of the Bolshevik Revolution, so a million German forces were being transferred to the Western Front. Continue reading White House: “Clear parallel” between US-France WWI alliance and “what we’re doing today”

Marc Short: “The Senate is conducting the slowest confirmation process in American history”

This is a common White House refrain that has been extensively discussed and fact-checked. See here, here, and here, and see also an earlier claim with more specific historical references.

Yet as even The Washington Post has reported, the Senate is conducting the slowest confirmation process in American history.

But it is historic in the level of obstruction that is denying the will of the American people who elected a new administration and expect that administration to be able to staff the departments.

—White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short
Press Briefing,  July 10, 2017

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White House: Trump Poland speech “best” since Reagan, “most important” in decades

In Poland, President Trump gave a powerful and historic speech in Warsaw that was widely praised both in Poland and the United States as one of the most important speeches by an American President on foreign soil in decades.

—Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders
Press Briefing, July 10, 2017

 

When you look at what President Trump did in Europe and recommitting ourselves to our NATO allies, committing ourselves to our partners in Europe, our partners across the world, committing ourselves to the values of the West, delivering a speech in Poland which many people said are the best speeches since Ronald Reagan.

—White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus

Fox News Sunday, July 9, 2017

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The Political Uses of the Past Project is back from a midsummer break

In addition, the project’s history scraper/sniffer is now pulling political uses of the past from five Sunday morning talk shows (CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox). More sources will be added soon.

Trump: “Fight for the West” akin to Warsaw Uprising

The memories of those who perished in the Warsaw Uprising cry out across the decades, and few are clearer than the memories of those who died to build and defend the Jerusalem Avenue crossing. Those heroes remind us that the West was saved with the blood of patriots; that each generation must rise up and play their part in its defense — (applause) — and that every foot of ground, and every last inch of civilization, is worth defending with your life.

Our own fight for the West does not begin on the battlefield — it begins with our minds, our wills, and our souls. Today, the ties that unite our civilization are no less vital, and demand no less defense, than that bare shred of land on which the hope of Poland once totally rested. Our freedom, our civilization, and our survival depend on these bonds of history, culture, and memory.

— President Donald Trump

Remarks by President Trump to the People of Poland, July 6, 2017

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