We have frequently observed in the past several months that Donald Trump is not the brightest of our presidents. U.S. Journalists and pundits from Jake Tapper to Rachel Maddow have also made this claim — as, unfortunately, has the rest of the world. Living with a president who has absolutely no concept of — or enjoys deceiving his followers about — history has become a norm to the U.S. in the last hundred or so days.
Having taken a fifth grade history class, however, I feel that I am qualified to weigh in on Trump’s recent ignorant question he asked during a radio interview earlier this week: “Why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”
The easy answer to this question is of course slavery. The Civil War happened because of slavery, Mr. Trump. To keep it simple for Trump, the southern part of the country refused to give up their slaves, they had resources taken from them, they attempted to secede and war ensued.
It is a horrible stain on our history, but it was a necessary war. Slavery is morally wrong on numerous levels; it deserves its own article. The economic complications and legal battles that led to the Civil War would have never simply worked themselves out as Trump seems to believe.
For Trump to blurt such a stupid question on air was despicable in itself. Are we no longer worried about our reputation as a country? Do we not care about setting examples for our children and those who are looking to run for public office one day? We should be encouraging educated, bright individuals to seek office and serve our country. I am afraid, however, that Trump has only encouraged the worst kinds of people to run after him: those who are ignorant, lacking of historical and general knowledge and those who fail to see the importance of knowledge.
What Donald Trump said was ignorant, yes. But what he continued with was even worse. He went on to say, “I mean, had Andrew Jackson been a little later, you wouldn’t have had the Civil War … 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.’”
Andrew Jackson, besides being president years before the Civil War, was one of the worst presidents we had. Trump claims he had a big heart. And yet, he was a slavery sympathizer and murdered thousands of Native Americans on the Trail of Tears. According to historian David Reynolds, he even “planned for a U.S.-controlled slave empire to include Cuba and parts of Central and South America.” You want to compare yourself and your presidential campaign to Jackson of all people, Mr. Trump? I thought you could sink no lower.
I can certainly see the comparison; although I’m sure Trump does not want to be compared in this way. Trump — with calls for deportation and the construction of a border wall — ran on a campaign that promoted tearing apart millions of Mexican immigrants’ families. Trump is a “businessman” and sees opportunities for money in everything he looks at. Jackson had similar preoccupations, owning slaves and profiting from their labor. Simply put, Jackson did not respect human life if it was not white and male, so if Trump sympathizes with Jackson’s policy positions, why wouldn’t he sympathize with slavery? According to CNN, Trump and his businesses have benefited from the work of nearly 1,500 foreign workers, some of whom were drastically underpaid.
President Trump has made it painfully clear that he does not care about history, nor its effects on the current happenings in the U.S. In fact, Trump does not even care about his own office it seems. Just last week he told reporters, according to the Washington Post, “I thought it would be easier … but I do miss my old life.”
Welcome to reality, Trump. You owe it to the country that elected you to get your act together.
I hope Trump enjoys his golfing trip he will undoubtedly take this weekend, since, according to Slate, he played golf nine times during his first 13 weeks in office. May I suggest picking up a history book to skim through on the plane? Perhaps he should ask his 11-year-old son Barron what he’s learning in school about the Civil War. It sounds like he would know more than his father. What a disgrace our president is to our country.
Originally written by Courtney Dalton for the Western Courier.