Every day, President Donald Trump says something that he probably immediately regrets. During an interview with journalist Salena Zito of Sirius XM over the weekend, Trump asked why the Civil War "couldn't be worked out."
The President said:
"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 the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?"
The comments were made after a lengthy discussion about former President Andrew Jackson, who Trump compared himself to because of Jackson's populist views and campaigning.
"I mean, had Andrew Jackson been a little later, you wouldn't have had the Civil War," Trump said regarding the slave-owning president. "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."
Of course, anyone who knows their presidents will know that Jackson died in 1845, 16 years before the Civil War started.
And anyone who knows their American history will probably conclude that if there had been no Civil War, the horrors of slavery would have continued in the south for decades longer. The Civil War broke out over the issue of whether western territories being added to the union should be allowed to practice slavery. In early 1861, fearing that free states would outnumber slave states, seven pro-slavery states in the south seceded from the union, starting the Civil War. Another four states would eventually side with the Confederacy.
As you can imagine, social media didn't treat the president kindly...
After Civil War and Andrew Jackson thing, people should demand Trump release his elementary school report card rather than tax returns.— Mark Pygas (@MarkPygas) May 1, 2017
The punchline is not the Jackson comment, but Trump's self congratulation on being 1st to ask why the Civil War had to happen— David Frum (@davidfrum) May 1, 2017
No one at the time knew that the Civil War/slavery thing was so complicated.— ANNE LAMOTT (@ANNELAMOTT) May 1, 2017
Trump's Civil War quote seems as much a part of his refusal to recognize black humanity as it is a product of his intellectual laziness.— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) May 1, 2017
The Civil War is trending because our president doesn't understand why it happened. He loves the poorly educated because he is one of them.— Patrick Nickle (@pnickle15) May 1, 2017
First, this idiot didn't seem to realize Frederick Douglass was dead. Now he suggests Andrew Jackson was alive during the Civil War. I DONE.— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) May 1, 2017
Trump: Why was the Civil War?— David M. Perry (@Lollardfish) May 1, 2017
South Carolina: Slavery
Trump: We'll never know.
If you have to ask why there was a Civil War, maybe do that before you are 70 years old and the President of the United States.— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) May 1, 2017
I think we need to put this to rest. The Civil War was fought because of Slavery. Period.— Bakari Sellers (@Bakari_Sellers) May 1, 2017
"It's embarrassing that intolerant liberals won't hear both sides of whether Andrew Jackson prevented the Civil War."— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) May 1, 2017
-The NYT, tomorrow
Let's see how Sean Spicer handles this one.