After mangling the facts regarding Andrew Jackson and the lead-up to the Civil War during an interview with the Washington Examiner on Monday, President Trump further demonstrated his tenuous understanding of American history with a stunningly misinformed statement — claiming that Abraham Lincoln was working on a diplomatic plan to avert WWII, a conflict that began nearly 75 years after his death.
Before bringing up Lincoln, however, Mr. Trump said that President Jackson was “really angry” about issues leading up to the Civil War and he could have stopped it. In fact, Jackson died 16 years before the war between the north and south started, and probably would not have been able to prevent America’s bloodiest conflict even if he had been alive.
President Trump then went on to inform his interviewer that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican, a fact that appeared to surprise Mr. Trump: “Great president,” he said. “Most people don’t even know he was a Republican, right? Does anyone know? Lot of people don’t know that.”
It was what followed, however, that led to sharp criticism from historians, politicians from both parties, Lincoln-philes, average American citizens, and most fifth graders in any school in the country.
The president stated that “Abraham Lincoln was concerned and very angry about the rise of Nazism,” that he was working with his secretary of state at the time to marginalize Adolf Hitler’s populist uprising, and had a “really great plan, honestly a brilliant plan, to stop World War II from ever happening. Most people don’t know that Lincoln was so involved in World War II, but he was.”
No, he wasn’t. In fact, WWII broke out about 75 years after Lincoln’s death and the seeds of that conflict were not sowed during Lincoln’s life or his presidential tenure.
But perhaps most bizarre of all was President Trump’s emphatic statement that America’s 16th president was killed in a car crash.
Mr. Lincoln was famously assassinated at Washington’s Ford Theater on April 14, 1865, shot by John Wilkes Booth, a confederate sympathizer.
And automobiles did not exist in 1865.
When confronted by the White House press pool with this series of well-established facts, Mr. Trump grew defensive, then seemed irritated.
“What I know, and I am the president, is that Lincoln had lots of great intel on Hitler, and he was not happy with the Furior’s (sic) rise to power in Germany. If you don’t believe me, look it up. Okay, that’s enough — we’re finished here.”
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