There is no denying the fact that President Donald Trump has had an incredulous and unusual start to his first term in office, and he has made some strange decisions and statements during those initial weeks and months. Of course, Trump already had a reputation for his vitriolic and often untrue tweets that drew the attention of the masses during the campaign and subsequent election. On Monday, May 1st, Trump made some comments during an interview that could easily be ranked among the dumbest things he has ever said.
Trump was being interviewed by Salena Zito, a SiriusXM radio host, when the subject of Andrew Jackson was raised. Trump showed his complete lack of historical or political understanding by claiming that Andrew Jackson would have prevented the Civil War had he been a figure during the time of the war, and he questioned why the Civil War had to happen at all. He claimed that Jackson, who is one of Trump’s favorite predecessors, was a good man who saw the escalation that would eventually grow into the Civil War, and went on to claim that Jackson would have prevented the Civil War if he were able. Trump’s statements seemed to completely ignore the fact that Andrew Jackson was a slave-owner and that he was staunchly against the idea of freeing the slaves. Many have taken Trump’s words to mean that he feels Jackson could have kept slavery intact.
Social media and the news outlets pounced on the statements, rightfully so, and soon those statements were seen everywhere. Seth Meyers, the host of ‘Late Night’, grilled Trump on his words, claiming that the president clearly has no grasp on reality, and that his knowledge of American history and even basic facts is highly inadequate. Meyers went on to say that Trump probably assumed the job would be much easier than it is, yet the host of the show pointed out that Trump’s first 100 days have been exemplified by naivety and ignorance in the face of reality.
During the interview where Trump made his now famous remarks, he also wondered aloud why no one ever asks why the Civil War happened in the first place. That in itself is patently wrong since there have been thousands of books on the subject and even entire courses at institutions of higher learning. How can a president with such a loose understanding of the history of his own nation be expected to perform the duties of the highest office? From Meyers’ perspective, Trump essentially admitted that he is not fit for the presidency. The Late Night host marveled at how Trump could imagine the presidency as an easy job, especially compared to being a gameshow host, which was Trump’s most recent foray into the public spotlight before the election.
Trump has asserted on more than one occasion that he is very detail-oriented, but Meyers found that hard to accept. He made it clear that the majority of his audience doesn’t think of Trump as a detail-oriented man, and he pointed out that Trump isn’t even oriented toward large facts. The cause of the Civil War is not a small detail, and neither is the issue of which country was bombed by Trump. Trump also famously misspoke regarding the recent attack on Syria by saying that the bomb was dropped on Iraq.
Meyers pondered on how a president like Trump, who is so obviously under-qualified, could operate in the public eye without some level of humility, but shortly after he made those statements, Trump tweeted something ridiculous. The president actually tweeted that he still believed Jackson would have prevented the Civil War despite what must have been countless examples against such a claim.