So, comparing Donald Trump Jr. to Teddy Roosevelt is supposed to be a good thing??


Theodore Roosevelt with a slain elephant, in Kenya. CreditBettmann, via Getty Images

Donald Trump Jr. came in for some merciless mocking when he posed in this newspaper in a grunge-era flannel shirt, sitting awkwardly atop a tree stump at the family estate, looking glum and lonely. A rejected Cialis ad was one of the kinder suggestions.

But look deeper. Buried in that profile was something — a saffron-thin thread of hope — that could keep his father from hastening the early death of the planet. The elder Trump has repeatedly indicated his intent to withdraw American cooperation from the global agreement to negate climate change, yet another middle finger from this president to the rest of the world, and to his grandchildren. His budget would let poisons flow through American rivers and be belched into the sky overhead.

The other Donald Trump, the kid with the burden of going through life with that name, may be the only person who can stop him. In the profile, junior comes across as a little boy lost, emotionally abandoned after the divorce of parents whose every hour is spent in bold face. Sent away to boarding school. Finding some solace hunting and fishing with a grandfather in Czechoslovakia. As he tries to navigate around the toxic swagger of the old man, he relishes his time in nature. It’s not, mind you, listening to yellow-rump warblers on spring days. It’s killing things. Pheasant and deer. And bigger things, elephants and leopards, creatures so magnificent that most people cringe at the thought of ending their lives in a sporting pursuit.

But there was another famous New Yorker who did much the same thing after going through a long stretch of emotional trauma — Teddy Roosevelt. And there you find the saffron-thin thread of hope. For on the desk of Donald Trump Jr. is a bronze statue of T.R. — the most muscular defender of creation in this nation’s history.

Step one is for Trump Jr. to read up on the bronze. If he hasn’t already, he should try Edmund Morris’s “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt” and David McCullough’s “Mornings on Horseback” for starters.

And yes, he hunted, pretty much anything. For Roosevelt, one reason to preserve all those living things was to have an opportunity to kill them later. But his love of nature was deep and consistent. “When I hear of the destruction of a species,” he wrote a friend, “I feel as if all the works of some great writer had perished.”

No doubt, Roosevelt would have detested Trump. “It tires me to talk to rich men,” he once said. “You expect a man of millions to be worth hearing, but as a rule, they don’t know anything outside their own business.”

But Trump Jr. certainly likes Roosevelt. If he takes away just one thing from the president who launched a century of progress, it should be his thunderous pitch for posterity in his New Nationalism speech of 1910. He said, “Of all the questions which can come before this nation there isn’t one which compares in importance with the central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us.”

That seem rather obvious — everywhere but inside the Trump White House. The president’s budget blueprint would gut the core mission of the agency charged with ensuring clear air and water. It would cripple the departments that oversee parks and national forests. And, in another stab at his base, he would make it much more difficult to get in and out of the open spaces of America, eliminating the federal assistance that keeps many rural airports from closing.

Of course, at a time when Trump’s other proposals would literally mean death to poor people newly deprived of health care and would stop vital cancer research that could save millions of lives, the concerns of the natural world can seem secondary.

Still, that’s the only area where Trump Jr. could match his passions with a policy block. His tweets, including the recent hit-and-miss attack on the mayor of London, show him to be an otherwise meanspirited, incurious and accuracy-challenged chip off the old block.

Sickly as a child, heartbroken as a young man over the loss of his wife and mother on the same day, Teddy Roosevelt found his salvation in nature, the American wild. “I owe more than I can ever express to the West,” he said.

In a similar vein, young Trump, who gives the impression of somebody who knows he will never outrun his father’s shadow, said, “I owe the outdoors way too much” for keeping him out of trouble. One man repaid the debt. The other still could.

8 thoughts on “So, comparing Donald Trump Jr. to Teddy Roosevelt is supposed to be a good thing??

  1. ..
    Anyone who enjoys murdering innocent sentient beings..
    is an ‘effing serial killer..

    I don’t care WHO the hunter is..
    president/saint/god/child who learned to murder from parent et al..

    They are twisted..
    narcissistic ..

    Whether they have a “soul” is questionable
    and they most surely have a “teenyweenydik”

  2. Teddy Roosevelt on wolves:

    “The wolf is the arch type of ravin, the beast of waste and desolation. It is still found scattered thinly throughout all the wilder portions of the United States, but has everywhere retreated from the advance of civilization.”
    from “Hunting the Grisly and Other Sketches” by Theodore Roosevelt

    So I don’t really have the complete reverence for him that many have, although I do respect his conservation legacy.

    The ‘beast of waste and desolation’ isn’t wolves, but humankind, that arch type of enemy to the natural world.

  3. In my opinion, yes, it is good to compare Donald Jr to Teddy Roosevelt, as it puts TR in the proper light. As The NY Times historic photo shows, TR and his admirers including Interior Secy Zinke are more interested in killing wildlife than in conservation. How else to explain Zinke signing a repeal on banning lead shot flanked by a portrait of TR?

  4. I know, that TR was first and foremost a hunter. I’m trying to keep an open mind. I try not to respond along party lines every time Donald Jr. says something the media picks up (in this recent case, I thought the comment by the mayor of London was insensitive and the timing of it could not be worse).

    I’m not happy about the lead shot rule by the Interior Dept., but Secretary Zinke does seem to be setting up for some good leadership otherwise. For example, I like that he sent out a general memo putting everyone on notice that he will not tolerate sexual harassment of women. He had a ‘bring your dog to work’ day recently. We’ll see.

  5. How anyone who regularly visits this ANTI-HUNTING blog can make ANY excuses for Teddy Roosevelt and Donald Trump Jr.’s legacy of ANIMAL MURDER is beyond me.
    Roosevelt’s terrible “conservation” ideology was proven to be a fallacy by John A. Livingston, who wrote The Fallacy of Wildlife Conservation.” And, of course, Jim Robertson’s writings are always to the point, in defending this sham of “conservation”–started by wolf killer Leopold, carried on by Roosevelt, and now religiously practiced by the Trump clan.

    So, as long as Zinke ok’ s “bring your dog to work day” everything is just peachy? And, one can continue to remain “confused and unsure about Trump’s Regime? If one truly cares about this planet and her non-humans, for goodness sake, get OFF THE DAMN FENCE–or go to blogs that excuse or condone hunting, and this Washington, Goldman Sachs, White Man’s Regime.

    Here is the Real Zinkie:

    EMILY’s List Blasts Ryan Zinke for Opposing Equal Pay for Women

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, denounced Representative Ryan Zinke for refusing to end gender discrimination in pay. April 12, 2016 is Equal Pay Day, the date that symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men have earned in the previous year for the same work. This year August 23 is African American women’s Equal Pay Day, September 14 is Native American women’s Equal Pay Day, and November 1 is Latinas’ Equal Pay Day.

    “Time and again Ryan Zinke has blocked opportunities to end gender discrimination in pay and Montana women need better. This is a problem that hard working Montana women and families can’t afford to ignore,” said EMILY’s List Press Secretary Rachel Thomas. “Ryan Zinke has joined Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and the rest of the Republican party to unite around an agenda that is deeply out of touch.”

    ” After winning a seat in the U.S. House, Zinke stood by his anti-choice position, consistently voting to defund Planned Parenthood. Zinke co-sponsored the House’s unconstitutional 20-week abortion ban, which relies on the debunked anti-choice claim that a fetus can feel pain at that point of gestation.

    Zinke voted in 2015 to overturn the D.C. Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act, which protects employees from being fired for their reproductive health-care choices.”

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