Don’t know much about history
Don’t know much biology
Don’t know much about a science book . . .
— From “What a Wonderful World” by Herb Alpert, Lou Adler, Sam Cooke
History whiz Donald Trump wants new immigrants to pass a civics test before they can become U.S. citizens.
According to — himself — Donald Trump is a stable genius though he doesn’t seem to shine at knowledge of history . . . nor government. He seems not to know or care a whit about that most basic document, the United States Constitution. Donnie demanding a civics test is beyond laughable since it’s coming from the most facts-challenged Oval Office Occupant in our nation’s history.
During an interview on SiriusXM’s P.O.T.U.S. channel, Trump pontificated that “President Andrew Jackson, who died 16 years before the Civil War started, saw it coming and was angry. Would never have let it happen!” In an attempt to explain away the gaffe, Trump later twitted that he didn’t understand why the Civil War was fought and that it wouldn’t have happened “had Andrew Jackson been a little later.”
Jackson, by the way, is Donnie’s idol, and he keeps a statue of him in his office.
Old Hickory, a slave owner, deserves credit for preserving the union during the “Nullification Crisis” of the 1830s when South Carolina threatened to secede over federal tariffs. But he was not one to advocate the abolishment of “the peculiar institution,” a euphemism for slavery and its economic ramifications in the Old South.
Jackson biographer Jon Meacham once said on “Morning Joe” that Trump had bragged to him that he “could have done a deal” to avoid the Civil War. Then Professor Michael Rank wrote in his book, “American History and Donald Trump: The 200-Year-Old Roots of the Trump Campaign,” that a “Jacksonian tramples on nearly every political piety of the day, dares to say what the people feel, and defies the entrenched elites.”
“As we have a language requirement for the Foreign Service, so should we have a history requirement for the White House,” said Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough during his 1986 commencement address at Middlebury College in Vermont.
Sounds like a great idea.
To our lasting shame, Trump, while defending his tariffs to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, called them a “national security” issue. In an apparent reference to the War of 1812, Trump asked Trudeau, “Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?”
Canada, which did not become a country until 1867, in fact did not burn down the White House, that was done by the British. Trump wasn’t wrong that the White House burned down during the War of 1812, but blaming Canada doesn’t make a ton of sense.
Sadly, there’s more:
- To mark Black History Month in 2017, Trump stunned us by saying that “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice.” Douglass died in 1895, but clearly Donald thought he was still alive. Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer also seemed to believe that Douglass was alive and well, saying, “I think he wants to highlight the contributions that (Frederick Douglass) has made and I think through a lot of the actions and statements that he’s going to make. I think the contributions of Frederick Douglass will become more and more.”
- During the National Republican Congressional Committee Dinner, Trump didn’t seem to know the Republican Party was referred to as “the Party of Lincoln.” He pontificated, “Great president. Most people don’t even know he was a Republican. Does anyone know? Lot of people don’t know that.” Most likely, every person in the ballroom knew and had attended at least one Lincoln Day dinner. Ah, to have been there.
- In April 2017, Trump claimed that Korea “actually used to be part of China.” Not true.
- Trump said Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who is best known for almost getting beaten to death as he marched on Bloody Sunday in Selma, Ala., is “all talk, talk, talk — no action or results.” The Washington Post’s James Hohmann wrote responded in May 2017: “There are things (John) Lewis might fairly be criticized for, but no one who knows anything about the Civil Rights Movement would agree that being ‘all talk’ is one of them.”
- Delusional Donald, when referring to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, claimed that “General John J. Pershing dealt with Muslim terrorists by shooting them with bullets dipped in pig’s blood.” Other versions of the story claim militant Muslims were killed and buried with pigs. None of it is true.
Author Michael Wolff wrote in his book “Fire and Fury” that “Trump isn’t a big fan of reading.”
Perhaps that is an understatement.
Wolff claimed that an internal White House e-mail, said to be written by former Chief Economy Adviser Gary Cohn, expressed surprise that Trump doesn’t look at anything with words on it. Cohn allegedly said in the e-mail that “Trump won’t read anything — not one-page memos, not the brief policy papers; nothing.”
Trump’s Virginia golf course on the Potomac River includes a plaque claiming that the location was the site of a Civil War battle. The inscription reads:
“Many great American soldiers, both of the North and South, died at this spot. The casualties were so great that the water would turn red and thus became known as ‘The River of Blood.’ It is my great honor to have preserved this important section of the Potomac River!”
— Donald John Trump
After historians pointed out that there had been no such Civil War battles at that location, Trump pushed back. “How would they know that?” Trump asked a New York Times reporter. “Were they there? Write your story the way you want to write it. . . . You don’t have to talk to anybody. It doesn’t make any difference. But many people were shot. It makes sense.”
Oh yeah, Donnie cheats at golf there, too.
One thing about Trump administration that he claimed wasn’t historic but actually is was his approval rating after six months in office. An ABC News/Washington Post poll at the time put Trump’s approval rating at 36 percent, which he tweeted “wasn’t bad.” As it turned out, it was the worst of any president in the last 70 years.
Remember Delusional Donald’s “fabulous piece of cake” moment at Mar-a-Lago while dining with China’s Xi Jinping? John McLaughlin, who worked at the CIA under seven presidents from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush and who ended up as the intelligence agency’s acting director, told The New Yorker that “Trump thinks having a piece of chocolate cake at Mar-a-Lago bought him a relationship with Xi Jinping. He came in as the least prepared president we’ve had on foreign policy. Our leadership in the world is slipping away. It’s slipping through our hands.”
Facts-and-history-challenged Donnie became the oldest and wealthiest person ever to win the Oval Office, the first without prior military or government service, and the fifth to have won the election despite having lost the popular vote.
Even Delusional Donald’s claim that “I guess it was the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan,” was guff. Even Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush surpassed him. When confronted with the facts by a reporter, Trump said, “I was given that information. Actually, I’ve seen that information around. But it was a very substantial victory. Do you agree with that?”
Our nation’s second president, John Adams wrote:
“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
Obviously Trump never read or would understand such a high-minded truth.
There are other examples of Trump’s ignorance, but they are too numerous to list. Suffice to say that self-proclaimed “stable genius” and “history buff” Trump, wouldn’t make it through the gates of any American port of entry if a civics test was the criteria.