John Adams and Donald Trump share several themes in their presidencies and personalities. Both men were known to speak their minds, be bold in their language and go against the grain of common thought or practice.
Let’s explore 7 facts that the two men and their presidencies have in common:
- America First — Both see the big picture. Adams was a visionary leader. He warned of becoming dependent on France while fighting the British. He was able to see that France was manipulating America in hopes of one day ruling the colonies. Adams put America’s interest first regardless of the consequences to his political career. Trump ran on the promise of Making America Great Again and seeing the big picture of how countries have been taking advantage of America for their gain at America’s expense in both trade and issues of war.
- Both wanted to control immigration. During Adams’ term, he was dealing with the question of getting involved in the French Revolution. There were rumors of French spies and as well as a French invasion. Adams signed the Alien Enemies Act that allowed the government to arrest and deport all males who were citizens of a country in the event of a war; as well as any non-citizen suspected of spying or any other illegal act — even when not at war. Early in his presidency, Trump sought to ban anyone from nations on a terror watch list as well as close the borders to illegal aliens by building the wall.
- Both fought with the press. Adams signed the Sedition Act which said anyone who spoke unfavorably of the president by “false, scandalous, or malicious writing,” including the press and political opponents if found guilty could be deported, fined or imprisoned. Trump has labeled the media “fake news” for salacious and defamatory claims made against him and his administration and fought with partisan press and Democrats over the Russia Hoax and the Ukranian call that has led to his impeachment.
- Both were great communicators. Adams was an avid reader of books, poetry and essays, and worked hard to become a great orator. After the Boston Massacre, Adams served as defense counsel for British soldiers accused of murder. His persuasion of the facts led to a jury finding them not guilty. Additionally, Adams’ words at the Continental Congress moved them to take action and create the Declaration of Independence. Trump learned quickly how to brand himself and his business — and as a campaigner how to brand his opponents negatively without them branding him.
- Both recognized talent. Adams was at his best when identifying talent. He was the one who recommended Washington as General of the Continental Army, and recruited Thomas Jefferson to write a draft of the Declaration of Independence. Trump has a keen sense of identifying successful people who can fill important roles to transform the government and the economy. He appointed Wilbur Ross as Secretary of Commerce, Steve Mnuchin as Secretary of the Treasury and Nikki Haley as Ambassador to the United Nations.
- Both are not afraid to ruffle feathers. Adams was staunchly a New Englander and was proud of it. While in the Continental Congress, he many times insulted pacifists who appeared afraid and incapable of defending America; While in France and Holland, he angered the French and Dutch regularly; and as president, Adams relieved capable men of their duties who did not agree with him. Trump regularly insults foreign leaders and members of NATO who don’t pay their share of the defense, disagrees openly with his opposition and has forced out members of his cabinet who don’t get in line with his views or policies.
- Neither served in the military. Adams grew up a farmer and attended Harvard at 15 years old. He would become a lawyer as a young man. Trump attended the New York Military Academy at age 13, earned a B.S. in Economics from Wharton and became a businessman.
By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor
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