Trump Apparently Has No Idea Why America Fought A Civil War
In bizarre radio comments, Trump says Andrew Jackson, who was dead by then, could have 'worked it out'
President Donald Trump went off script about Andrew Jackson and the Civil War in an interview with the Washington Examiner’s Salena Zito that will air on SiriusXM on Monday, and it went about as well as the phrase “off script about Andrew Jackson and the Civil War” suggests.
In the interview, he repeatedly asks why the Civil War happened, and then suggests that had Andrew Jackson served as president during the time of the war, it wouldn’t have happened.
“I mean had Andrew Jackson been a little later you wouldn’t have had the Civil War,” Trump began. “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 the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”
The slapping sounds you hear are the palms of Trump aides hitting their foreheads.
Here's the audio on that Trump answer: "Why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?" pic.twitter.com/tEUFGRDMSM
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 1, 2017
These comments are curious for a number reasons. First, Andrew Jackson died 16 years before the Civil War began. Second, Jackson was a southern slave owner and the founder of the Democratic party, which then supported the Souths’ right to own slaves. If it were left to Jackson to “work out” the schism that caused the Civil War, his preference would likely be to allow the South to keep owning slaves.
This is just the latest in a string of incorrect and/or insensitive remarks by made by Trump during his presidency regarding African Americans. To mark Black History month in February, Trump talked about Frederick Douglass in way that suggested he thought Douglass was still alive. During a heated press conference later that month, he suggested to a black reporter that she set up a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus, asking her “Are they friends of yours?”
Trump has also frequently mentioned how much he likes Andrew Jackson, a president whose place in history is being increasingly questioned because of the genocide he perpetrated against Native Americans. Trump saluted Jackson’s grave in Nashville in March, and then drew comparisons between himself and the seventh president.
“It was during the revolution that Jackson first confronted and defied an arrogant elite. Does that sound familiar?” Trump said.
Trump’s latest comments predictably left Twitter in a rage, but the responses may help us cope with the fact that the President of the United States seems to lack even a 5th-grader’s understanding of American history:
Never mind the Civil War. My question is:
"Why was there a Donald Trump? Why could that one not have been worked out?"
— Hilary Sargent (@lilsarg) May 1, 2017
TRUMP: You should know [spins wheel] Andrew Jackson said
TRUMP: the Civil War
TRUMP: happened for no reason!
— Jarry (@jarry) May 1, 2017
It's cool that trump doesn't know how the Civil War happened but I bet he'll understand when the 2nd one happens.
— Shon Richards (@shonrichards) May 1, 2017
So, when Trump thinks Jackson could have "worked something out" to avoid Civil War, he prolly means keeping slavery.
— James Finn Garner (@jamesfinngarner) May 1, 2017
— David Pomerantz (@davidpom2000) May 1, 2017
Trump's Civil War quote seems as much a part of his refusal to recognize black humanity as it is a product of his intellectual laziness.
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) May 1, 2017
Try to imagine a "deal" anyone could have made to avoid the Civil War that didn't include retention of slavery.
And that's the problem. https://t.co/K8ADT1bojC
— Jeff B/DDHQ (@EsotericCD) May 1, 2017
On a positive note, at least Trump does seem aware that Andrew Jackson is dead
— David Frum (@davidfrum) May 1, 2017