Just when I think Donald Trump can’t possibly put his foot further into his mouth, the president’s latest comments about the civil war and Andrew Jackson show there’s no end to to his lack of knowledge.
Let’s take a look at what Trump told Salena Zito of the Washington Examiner:
TRUMP: [Jackson] was a swashbuckler. But when his wife died, did you know he visited her grave every day? I visited her grave actually because I was in Tennessee.
ZITO: That’s right. You were in Tennessee.
TRUMP: And it was amazing. The people of Tennessee are amazing people. They love Andrew Jackson. They love Andrew Jackson in Tennessee.
ZITO: He’s fascinating.
TRUMP: I mean, had Andrew Jackson been a little later, you wouldn’t have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart. He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War. He said, “There’s no reason for this.” People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War — if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there a Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?
In addition to slathering praise on the seventh president–who owned slaves and enforced the horrific Indian Removal Act that led to the “trail of tears,” oh, and WHO WAS DEAD before the Civil War–Trump doesn’t seem to have a grasp on one of the most basic parts of American history.
If you’ve passed the eighth grade (and probably even if you haven’t), it’s quite clear WHY America went to war with itself. Whether you call it “the War of Northern Aggression” or the “War of Secession” or “That Big Ass War in the 1800s,” there was one gigantic reason why the states squared up and got it on–SLAVERY.
SLAVERY, SLAVERY, SLAVERY, SLAVERY–and the battle over whether or not it would remain legal–set the stage for the American Civil War.
Let’s recap, shall we?
During the 1860 presidential elections, Abraham Lincoln campaigned on banning slavery throughout the U.S. and its territories. This upset many of the southern states whose economies were heavily dependents on free labor (ehem, slavery). When Lincoln was elected, seven slave-holding states in the South formed the Confederate States of America and pulled out of U.S. On April 12, 1861, Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter, a move that would spark America’s bloodiest war.
So…what was at the base of it all? Total help me sing it…
Everyone knows this, except the president, which drove people on Twitter crazy.
1 word answer: Slavery. Longer: When Andrew Jackson died in 1845 (16 yrs before the Civil War began), he owned 150 men, women and children. https://t.co/Icg6puG2JZ
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) May 1, 2017
"People don't ask that question, but why was there a Civil War?" –@POTUS
— Matt Rodewald (@Matt_Rodewald) May 1, 2017
The president of the united states thinks the man who signed this would have negotiated us OUT of the civil war. pic.twitter.com/IRw9Mn2KQa
— Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) May 1, 2017
Since we're talking about the Civil War, remember the economic value of slavery exceeded that of all railroads, factories, & banks combined.
— Clint Smith (@ClintSmithIII) May 1, 2017
Trump’s latest bungling of history is right up there with his Black History month flub about Frederick Douglass. Back in February, Trump seemed confused about who exactly the abolitionist was, or whether or not he was even alive (spoiler alert: he isn’t), and said Douglas “was an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more.”
Somebody slide POTUS a history book, or three–QUICK!