GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois on Thursday rejected former Vice President Mike Pence’s comparison of former President Donald Trump to the late President Ronald Reagan, a Republican icon.
During a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., Pence praised the 40th president, who served from 1981 to 1989, as a “one of a kind” and a “disruptor.”
Pence then linked Reagan’s legacy to that of Trump.
“President Donald Trump is also one of a kind,” the former vice president said. “He too disrupted the status quo. He challenged the establishment. He invigorated our movement, and he set a bold new course for America in the 21st century. And now, as then, there is no going back.”
He added: “Under President Trump’s leadership we were able to achieve things Republicans have been talking about since the days of Barry Goldwater.”
Goldwater, the late Arizona senator, was the 1964 Republican presidential nominee and lost in a landslide to then-President Lyndon B. Johnson in the general election.
When Kinzinger, who voted to impeach the former president for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, got wind of Pence’s comments, he was unforgiving in his assessment.
“Reagan inspired. Trump destroyed. No comparison,” he wrote on Twitter. “I am still amazed at these people that are so deferential to the weakest man I ever met.”
Kinzinger has been highly critical of Trump and the Republican leadership in recent months, even drawing the ire of several family members who have accused him of “treason” for defying the former president.
During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” last month, Kinzinger blasted Trump once again, telling host Chris Wallace that Republican voters have “had their patriotism abused by somebody that simply wants to use it to maintain power.”
Reagan, who was an actor and a two-term governor of California before becoming president, has been regularly hailed as an arbiter of modern conservatism.
In the 1980 presidential election, Reagan handily defeated then-President Jimmy Carter, and his 1984 reelection bid against former Vice President Walter Mondale saw him capture 49 out of 50 states. (Reagan narrowly lost Minnesota, which was Mondale’s home state.)
Pence also took time in his speech to defend his role in certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election, expressing that he would “always be proud” of his actions as vice president.
For weeks, Trump tried earnestly to get Pence to reject the certification of President Joe Biden’s electoral victory, to avail.
“The Constitution affords the vice president no authority to reject or return electoral votes submitted to the Congress by the states,” Pence said. “The truth is there is almost no idea more un-American than the idea that one person could choose the president. The presidency belongs to the American people and the American people alone.”
He added: “I will always be proud that we did our part on that tragic day to reconvene the Congress and fulfilled our duty under the Constitution and the laws of the United States.”
The Japan-based US Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan has left the Pacific and is now moving into position in the Middle East to cover the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
The aircraft carrier, which is home-ported in Yokosuka, Japan in the 7th Fleet area of operations, has entered the 5th Fleet for the first time since 2012.
This is the first time that a Japan-based carrier has been sent to the Middle East since the USS Kitty Hawk deployed to the region in 2003 to support the invasion of Iraq, according to USNI News.
The carrier is accompanied by the cruiser USS Shiloh and destroyer USS Halsey and will “provide airpower to protect US and coalition forces as they conduct drawdown operations from Afghanistan,” the Navy said Friday.
The US military is currently in the process of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, where it has been fighting for nearly two decades, in accordance with an agreement with the Taliban negotiated during the last administration and upheld by the Biden administration.
US Central Command, which oversees operations in the Middle East, said this week that the military has completed more than 50% of the retrograde process, which involves pulling out personnel and equipment and turning over bases and other facilities to the Afghan military.
The Pentagon’s plans to relocate the Ronald Reagan to support the withdrawal were first reported in late May by the Wall Street Journal, which argued in a later editorial that the move “highlights the US Navy’s dearth of ships to meet its military missions,” an important topic as the Biden administration thinks about what the future fleet should look like.
Questions have also been raised about whether or not the decision to relocate the Ronald Reagan sends the wrong message, one that contradicts US assertions that the strategically-significant Indo-Pacific region and China are top priorities, but the Pentagon has said this is not the case.
Former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, a titan of American academia, business and diplomacy who spent most of the 1980s trying to improve Cold War relations with the Soviet Union and forging a course for peace in the Middle East, has died. He was 100.
Shultz died Saturday at his home on the campus of Stanford University, where he was a distinguished fellow at the Hoover Institution, a think tank, and professor emeritus at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.
The Hoover Institution announced Shultz’s death on Sunday. A cause of death was not provided.
A lifelong Republican, Shultz held three major Cabinet positions in GOP administrations during a lengthy career of public service.
He was labor secretary, treasury secretary and director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Richard M. Nixon before spending more than six years as President Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state.
Shultz was the longest serving secretary of state since World War II and had been the oldest surviving former Cabinet member of any administration.
Condoleezza Rice, also a former secretary of state and current director of the Hoover Institution, praised Shultz as a “great American statesman” and a “true patriot.”
“He will be remembered in history as a man who made the world a better place,” she said in statement.
Shultz had largely stayed out of politics since his retirement, but had been an advocate for an increased focus on climate change. He marked his 100th birthday in December by extolling the virtues of trust and bipartisanship in politics and other endeavors in a piece he wrote for The Washington Post.
Coming amid the acrimony that followed the November presidential election, Shultz’s call for decency and respect for opposing views struck many as an appeal for the country to shun the political vitriol of the Trump years.
“Trust is the coin of the realm,” Shultz wrote. “When trust was in the room, whatever room that was — the family room, the schoolroom, the locker room, the office room, the government room or the military room — good things happened. When trust was not in the room, good things did not happen. Everything else is details.”
Shultz had a lengthy track record in academia, public service, and business
Over his lifetime, Shultz succeeded in the worlds of academia, public service, and corporate America, and was widely respected by his peers from both political parties.
After the October 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 soldiers, Shultz worked tirelessly to end Lebanon’s brutal civil war in the 1980s. He spent countless hours of shuttle diplomacy between Mideast capitals trying to secure the withdrawal of Israeli forces there.
The experience led him to believe that stability in the region could only be assured with a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and he set about on an ambitious but ultimately unsuccessful mission to bring the parties to the negotiating table.
Although Shultz fell short of his goal to put the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel on a course to a peace agreement, he shaped the path for future administrations’ Mideast efforts by legitimizing the Palestinians as a people with valid aspirations and a valid stake in determining their future.
As the nation’s chief diplomat, Shultz negotiated the first-ever treaty to reduce the size of the Soviet Union’s ground-based nuclear arsenals despite fierce objections from Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to Reagan’s “Strategic Defense Initiative” or Star Wars.
The 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was a historic attempt to begin to reverse the nuclear arms race, a goal he never abandoned in private life.
“Now that we know so much about these weapons and their power,” Shultz said in an interview in 2008, “they’re almost weapons that we wouldn’t use, so I think we would be better off without them.”
Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, reflecting in his memoirs on the “highly analytic, calm and unselfish Shultz,” paid Shultz an exceptional compliment in his diary: “If I could choose one American to whom I would entrust the nation’s fate in a crisis, it would be George Shultz.”
George Pratt Shultz was born Dec. 13, 1920, in New York City and raised in Englewood, New Jersey. He studied economics and public and international affairs at Princeton University, graduating in 1942. His affinity for Princeton prompted him to have the school’s mascot, a tiger, tattooed on his posterior, a fact confirmed to reporters decades later by his wife aboard a plane taking them to China.
At Shultz’s 90th birthday party, his successor as secretary of state, James Baker, joked that he would do anything for Shultz “except kiss the tiger.” After Princeton, Shultz joined the Marine Corps and rose to the rank of captain as an artillery officer during World War II.
He earned a Ph.D. in economics at MIT in 1949 and taught at MIT and at the University of Chicago, where he was dean of the business school. His administration experience included a stint as a senior staff economist with President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Council of Economic Advisers and as Nixon’s OMB director.
Shultz was president of the construction and engineering company Bechtel Group from 1975-1982 and taught part-time at Stanford University before joining the Reagan administration in 1982, replacing Alexander Haig, who resigned after frequent clashes with other members of the administration.
A rare public disagreement between Reagan and Shultz came in 1985 when the president ordered thousands of government employees with access to highly classified information to take a “lie detector” test as a way to plug leaks of information. Shultz told reporters, “The minute in this government that I am not trusted is the day that I leave.” The administration soon backed off the demand.
A year later, Shultz submitted to a government-wide drug test considered far more reliable.
A more serious disagreement was over the secret arms sales to Iran in 1985 in hopes of securing the release of American hostages held in Lebanon by Hezbollah militants. Although Shultz objected, Reagan went ahead with the deal and millions of dollars from Iran went to right-wing Contra guerrillas in Nicaragua. The ensuing Iran-Contra scandal swamped the administration, to Shultz’s dismay.
In 1986 testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, he lamented that “nothing ever gets settled in this town. It’s not like running a company or even a university. It’s a seething debating society in which the debate never stops, in which people never give up, including me, and that’s the atmosphere in which you administer.″
Under Reagan, Shultz set the record for longest-serving secretary of state
After Reagan left office, Shultz returned to Bechtel, having been the longest-serving secretary of state since Cordell Hull under President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
He retired from Bechtel’s board in 2006 and returned to Stanford and the Hoover Institution.
In 2000, he became an early supporter of the presidential candidacy of George W. Bush, whose father had been vice president while Shultz was secretary of state. Shultz served as an informal adviser to the campaign.
Shultz remained an ardent arms control advocate in his later years but retained an iconoclastic streak, speaking out against several mainstream Republican policy positions. He created some controversy by calling the war on recreational drugs, championed by Reagan, a failure and raised eyebrows by decrying the longstanding U.S. embargo on Cuba as “insane.”
He was also a prominent proponent of efforts to fight the effects of climate change, warning that ignoring the risks was suicidal.
A pragmatist, Shultz, along with former GOP Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, made headlines during the 2016 presidential campaign when he declined to endorse Republican nominee Donald Trump after being quoted as saying “God help us” when asked about the possibility of Trump in the White House.
Shultz was married to Helena “Obie” O’Brien, an Army nurse he met in the Pacific in World War II, and they had five children. After her death, in 1995, he married Charlotte Maillard, San Francisco’s protocol chief, in 1997.
Shultz was awarded the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1989.
Survivors include his wife, five children, 11 grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.
Longtime AP Diplomatic Writer Barry Schweid, who died in 2015, contributed to this report.