This morning I was listening to an episode of my favorite podcast, Dangerous History with Prof. CJ. and, he mentioned that Mark Twain was no fan of Teddy Roosevelt. I did some looking and there is no shortage of quotes from Twain that are unfavorable of the Rough Rider.
I found one that was particularly interesting. This is part of an unpublished piece about an incident in which Roosevelt verbally abused and castigated a fifteen year old girl during a horseback riding outing.
Have we ever had a President before of whom such a story could be told & find believers? Certainly not. It would be recognized as a foolish & extravagant invention, a manifest lie; for we have never had a President before who was destitute of self-respect & of respect for his high office; we have had no President before who was not a gentleman; we have had no President before who was intended for a butcher, a dive-keeper or a bully, & missed his mission by compulsion of circumstances over which he had no control. Will the story be believed now? Yes, & justifiably. No one who knows Mr. Roosevelt will doubt that in its essence the tale is true. This is the same ruffian whose subordinate ruffian brutally treated a lady in the waiting-room of the White House three years ago, & was rewarded for it by being appointed postmaster of Washington.
I’m struck by how similar the sentiment is to that of modern pundits babbling about Donald Trump. A big difference though, Twain wasn’t some talking head being propped up by the establishment. And, looking back at his opinions, he seemed to have a decided anarchy streak.
Sources for today:
The Mark Twain piece: http://www.shapell.org/manuscript/twain-theodore-roosevelt
Prof CJ’s excellent Dangerous History podcast: http://profcj.org/list-episodes/