News & Politics

Donald Trump Doesn't Appear to Have a Clue Why the Civil War Was Fought

The president reveals his profound ignorance of American history in a mortifying new interview.

Photo Credit: a katz / Shutterstock.com

Donald Trump is extremely confused again, where confused means ignorant beyond reckoning. Let’s start your reading of his discussion, with interviewer Salena Zito, of the seventh president of the United States and his lessons about the Civil War, with a couple of very basic facts about Jackson and the war.

Andrew Jackson was president of the United States from 1829 to 1837 and died in 1845. The Civil War began in 1861. 

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 the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?

Maybe Trump has some kind of direct line to the afterlife and has used it to get the scoop on Jackson’s feelings about the Civil War, but otherwise, there are some chronological issues with the claim that when Jackson “saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War, he said ‘There’s no reason for this.’”

But beyond the chronology … “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?” 

Did Donald Trump not take middle school or high school or college history? Because “What were the reasons for the Civil War?” is pretty much the classic thing U.S. history classes talk about. And the answer, after much debate, is slavery. F’ing slavery. This is something the current occupant of the White House appears to think is a mystery.

His next question: “Why could that one not have been worked out?” Uh, because Donald Trump was not there to do a deal? Or, you know, because slave owners were willing to go to war to continue enslaving and torturing and raping other human beings. Maybe because of that. 

This is astounding. You have to wonder if the “Why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?” is some kind of signaling to white supremacists, but the, um, confusion over Andrew Jackson having died more than 15 years before the event Trump insists he had strong feelings about raises the question of what else is going on with Trump here. What bedtime stories is Steve Bannon telling him that leave him not just sounding like a slavery apologist but one who doesn’t know that 1845 came before 1861?

Laura Clawson is the Labor editor at Daily Kos Labor, and a contributing editor at Daily Kos.

 

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