Trump gets fact-checked by a historian over his very basic error in defending Thomas Jefferson

Trump gets fact-checked by a historian over his very basic error in defending Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson / royalty-free photo.

Former president Donald Trump falsely claimed that Thomas Jefferson was "a principal writer of the Constitution" on Tuesday.

Trump made the error in a statement criticizing the the removal of a Thomas Jefferson statue from New York City Hall.

"Well, it's finally happened. The late, great Thomas Jefferson, one of our most important Founding Fathers, and a principal writer of the Constitution of the United States, is being 'evicted' from the magnificent New York City Council Chamber," Trump said in the statement from his Save America PAC. "Who would have thought this would ever be possible (I did, and called it long ago!). Next up, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln and, of course, George Washington. The Radical Left has gone crazy, and it's hurting our Country badly—But someday soon, sane people will be back, and our Country will be respected again!"

In response to Trump's tweet, historians and others pointed out that while Jefferson is credited with authoring the Declaration of Independence, he was in France during the Constitutional Convention — and, therefore, did not write the Constitution.

"It's difficult to argue that removing a statue of a historical figure erases history when you can't even get the basic facts straight," historian and author Kevin M. Levin wrote in response to Trump. "Thomas Jefferson was in France when the Constitution was debated and written."

Mother Jones reporter Dan Friedman said of Trump's statement, "The error here of course completely undermines his supposed reverence for the founders."

The Hill reports that the New York City Public Design Commission voted unanimously Monday to relocate a 188-year-old statue of Jefferson.

"The vote followed a years-long debate regarding the Jefferson statue, which focused on the fact that the former president was a slave owner. According to Jefferson Monticello, the third president owned roughly 130 slaves by the time he died in 1826," according to the Hill.

A few more responses to Trump's statement below.

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