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'

Trump: Andrew Jackson bae AF — Getty Images
May 01, 2017 at 11:39 AM ET

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.

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: