Is there some book where every wrong premise with regard to American history has been compiled? And, if so, how many copies does Donald Trump own? I ask this question with at least a measure of sincere interest, as it is impossible for those of us who have been paying attention to understand how anyone so deliberately and consistently ignorant could serve as the president of the United States.
Case in point: Trump’s wide-ranging “100 Days” interview with Salena Zito, a Washington Examiner writer and the host of SiriusXM P.O.T.U.S.’s Main Street Meets the Beltway.
During the interview, Trump reflected on Andrew Jackson’s 1828 election, and his reputation as a “swashbuckler.” Let’s take the conversation up at that point:
ZITO: That’s right. You were in Tennessee.
TRUMP: And it was amazing. The people of Tennessee are amazing people. They love Andrew Jackson. They love Andrew Jackson in Tennessee.
ZITO: He’s fascinating.
TRUMP: I mean, had Andrew Jackson been a little later, you wouldn’t have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person, but 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.” People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War—if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there a Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?
Let’s unpack those stunning statements by the president of the United States:
1. Donald Trump has admitted that, despite his Steve Bannon-nurtured Jackson fetish, he’s had a hard time reading up on the seventh president. When Fox’s Tucker Carlson asked what he was reading in early March, the president replied, “Well, you know, I love to read. Actually, I’m looking at a book, I’m reading a book, I’m trying to get started. Every time I do about a half a page, I get a phone call that there’s some emergency, this or that. But we’re going to see the home of Andrew Jackson today in Tennessee and I’m reading a book on Andrew Jackson. I love to read. I don’t get to read very much, Tucker, because I’m working very hard on lots of different things, including getting costs down. The costs of our country are out of control. But we have a lot of great things happening, we have a lot of tremendous things happening.” So much for Jacksonian scholarship.