Donald Trump, sitting President of the United States and noted Andrew Jackson fan, tried on a new hat recently—amateur historian. In an interview with The Washington Examiner’s Salena Zito, which is now out on SiriusXM, Trump said he was aware of comparisons that had been made between his presidential campaign and that of Jackson, whose supporters also believed the voting system was rigged (until their candidate won, when suddenly it wasn’t). But in his typically oblivious fashion, Trump appeared to find the comparison favorable. And why wouldn’t he, when he considers Jackson not so much a genocidal chief executive as a “swashbuckler”? But Trump finds the 7th president so simpatico that he felt qualified to muse on how Jackson would have “handled” the Civil War.
When Zito asked about his visit to Jackson’s estate The Hermitage, Trump gushed about the 7th president’s preference for decisiveness over diplomacy. He claimed that Jackson was “really angry” about the conflict between abolitionists and the Confederacy, without mentioning the fact that the 19th-century president was a slave owner himself, and that Trump was currently at the site of the very plantation Jackson owned. But he does believe that Jackson wouldn’t have allowed a thing like the Civil War to have happened on his watch: “I mean, had Andrew Jackson been a little later, you wouldn’t have had the Civil War.”
Trump continued to peer in Jackson’s mind, telling Zito that the man responsible for the Trail Of Tears was baffled by the Civil War: “He said, ’there’s no reason for this.’” And that’s actually quite believable, since again, Jackson himself owned about 300 slaves over the course of his lifetime. Trump immediately blows his accuracy streak, though, when he claims that no one’s ever thought about “why” the Civil War happened. Here’s the audio from the interview, so you can listen for yourself in disbelief.