The difference between a simple ruler and a world statesman is not measured by the size of the country, but by how their decisions affect the course of history. South Africa’s Nelson Mandela is a legend because at a critical moment, he made a momentous decision ... and won. It happened when he read the poem “Invictus” in his solitary cell and decided that he was not going to be defeated, and that one day he would be free and, in turn, he would free his people. The moment for another legendary figure, Abraham Lincoln, arrived when he decided to declare war on the southern states, and liberated black people from slavery. And Franklin D. Roosevelt’s great decision came 75 years ago, on June 6, 1944, when he placed his general, Dwight Eisenhower, at the head of more than a million men, and asked him to lead the largest military landing ever seen. The invasion of Normandy went down in history as D-Day because the liberation of Europe from Nazi tyranny was at stake.
Now, what would have happened if, instead of Roosevelt, Donald Trump had been the president of the United States 75 years ago?
Although to speculate is to enter murky terrain about what would have happened, the current Republican president’s erratic behavior (sometimes akin to that of a pre-adolescent brat) and his megalomania that comes close to illness, would be like putting the fox in charge of the chickens. The Democrat Roosevelt’s actions left no room for speculation, and who better to describe his character than Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, who spoke about Roosevelt in his memoir about the Yalta Conference of February 1945, where Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin planned how to divide the world once Germany was defeated. (Shortly afterward on April 30, Hitler committed suicide and the Nazis surrendered on May 8.)
"He never used unpleasant words in conversations, even with his political opponents. Instead, Roosevelt resorted to humor. He showed great control, trying, even in moments of great tension, to contribute to the discussion a positive aspect of commitment, " Gromyko wrote.
In the face of this, just look at Trump's recent visit to Britain. He insulted London Mayor Sadiq Khan, whom he called a "loser," and disparaged the queen’s daughter-in-law, Meghan Markle, because she voted for Hillary Clinton and not for him. He claimed that people cheered for him in the streets, describing as fake news what really happened: thousands of Englishmen jeered him. He humiliated Prime Minister Theresa May, criticizing her for defending a soft Brexit, clearly interfering in British domestic politics. He gave his blessing to the most radical and anti-European politicians. He showed his ignorance by defending the wall between Ireland and Northern Ireland before Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who is fighting to avoid a wall between his country and Northern Ireland, and finally, Trump turned a deaf ear to the uproar in his country against the tariff blackmail of Mexico (its main commercial ally), because it would endanger the U.S. economy itself.
With such a resume, no one is fooled: The invasion of Normandy would have been a terrible allied defeat with Trump in command. Even worse, he might have told Churchill that Churchill’s problems with Hitler were not his, and that he would not be willing to sacrifice American soldiers, as Roosevelt did, fortunately, unless Churchill gave him something in return.
In a historic speech before Congress in support of entering the war, Roosevelt said at the time, "We cannot save our own skin by closing our eyes to the fate of other nations. We must be the great arsenal of democracy. "
We already know what Trump says when speaks before Congress: "Immigrants are criminals," and similar lies.