President Donald Trump is questioning why the Civil War could not have been avoided and says President Andrew Jackson could have prevented it had he been in office "a little later" — comments that immediately drew fire Monday from Democrats who charged the president was ignoring slavery."People don't realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why?" Trump said in a clip of the radio interview released by the SiriusXM show "Main Street Meets the Beltway.""People don't ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?" Trump added.
One day, we'll probably discover a subject area in which Donald Trump has at least some proficiency. American history, however, will not be that subject.The Republican president has apparently been told to take an interest in Andrew Jackson -- a portrait of the seventh U.S. president now hangs on Trump's wall in the Oval Office -- and Trump recently boasted that he's reading a book about Jackson.Perhaps he's still on one of the early chapters.
Part of the problem, right off the bat, is that Trump apparently thinks he's stumbled onto a line of inquiry that others have missed. "People," he's convinced, "don't ask" why there was a Civil War -- which is true, just so long as you overlook all of the many people who've asked, studied, debated, and written about this question for generations.The president should also have some basic understanding of slavery's role in creating the conflict, and the fact that Jackson wasn't an abolitionist.Trump added, in reference to Jackson, "He was really angry that -- he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War. He said, 'There's no reason for this.'"Jackson died in 1845. The Civil War began in 1861. He couldn't have been "really angry" about a war he didn't see.And why Trump thinks Jackson could've somehow prevented the conflict is something of a mystery.In case anyone's forgotten, let's also note that in February, Trump declared, "Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who has done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice."I don't really expect Trump to be able to speak with any fluency about American history, but if he could just avoid trying to discuss his thoughts on the subject, it'd save us all a lot of aggravation.