Hillary Clinton walked right into one key Donald Trump line after strangely invoking Abraham Lincoln to defend her dishonesty.
According to WikiLeaks documents released over the weekend, Clinton told her Wall Street supporters she has both public and private positions when it comes to issues such as trade and regulating business. Asked about this during the debate, Clinton said: “As I recall, that was something I said about Abraham Lincoln, after having seen the wonderful Steven Spielberg movie called ‘Lincoln.’”
Trump responded, “Now she’s blaming the lie on the late, great Abraham Lincoln. Honest Abe never lied.”
Michael Zak, author of Back to Basics for the Republican Party, thinks Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president, the most successful Republican president of the 19th century, would have chosen Trump over Clinton, as would the most successful GOP president of the 20th century, Ronald Reagan.
Zak, whose book is as much about the GOP’s heritage as its history, admits that Trump was not his choice to be his party’s nominee. Late in the primary season, he was rooting for a contested Republican convention. Zak now supports Trump and says he doesn’t get preoccupied about the nominee’s impact on the party’s legacy.
“That said, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan would have gladly voted for Donald Trump,” Zak said.
At a time when some Republicans—establishment and grassroots conservative—seem concerned about the future of the party after Trump, or have even endorsed Clinton, I reached out to Zak as someone who cares deeply about the party’s history, heritage, and future.
Zak’s book is a national treasure in tackling myths and pointing out documented history often forgotten. The book was first published in 2000, long before the blockbuster documentary, Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party was released. Both bring up many of the same points about the historical role of each party regarding race in America and dispel the notion of some sort of supposed “switch” by the two political parties.
While Dinesh D’Souza’s film focuses on the sins of Democrats, Zak’s book celebrates the Republican virtues. Core to Zak’s argument is that the party of Lincoln—which brought liberty from slavery—is the same as the party of Reagan, which brought liberty from communism, by promoting freedom and opportunity agenda.
It’s Trump’s outreach to African-American voters which impresses Zak. Trump might be an atypical Republican nominee, but Zak sees him making a more effective case for the party’s freedom and opportunity heritage than other Republicans.
“Donald Trump is making the most aggressive attempt to engage African-Americans of any Republican presidential candidate in modern history,” Zak said. “His efforts are not merely to attract votes among that community, but are to re-focus the GOP on its founding principles.”
He continued, “I’ve been at this for many years, trying to persuade Republican leaders to appreciate the heritage of our Grand Old Party.”
Zak thinks it’s making a difference.
“I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of African-Americans who have told me they will vote for Trump,” he said. He later added, “There is no downside to the Trump campaign’s outreach to communities that have not been voting Republican lately. To quote my book, ‘Doing the right thing is always the right thing to do.’”
I had asked Zak about these matters last week, before the release of the infamous 2005 Trump audio and before the second debate. So to be safe, I checked back and he stands by his comments.
With regard to the “Access Hollywood” conversation, Zak couldn’t help but note in 2005, Trump was still a Democrat. We both agreed, Clinton’s invoking of Lincoln came at a great time for this piece.
Fred Lucas is a columnist for Political Storm and the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal. He is the author of “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections” (Stairway Press, 2016).