Granted, they probably don’t focus much on History at Wharton Business School, from which Donald Trump allegedly graduated in 1968, but surely he attended high school? Surely he has read … oh wait … I forgot … he doesn’t read. Well, folks, let me tell you a little secret. Donald Trump is illiterate about the history of the nation he purports to lead. The evidence has been mounting ever since before he even took office, but yesterday … yesterday he made himself look like the most ignorant person on the North American continent.
In the past, he has made a number of faux pas when speaking of historical events, and I’m really surprised that his staff have not reined him in and admonished him not to speak of history, but perhaps they are no more enlightened than he. I mean, think of Kellyanne … do you really think she knows what D-Day was? Or that she could name five leaders of the Civil Rights movement?
In February 2017, for example, during a televised speech in honour of Black History Month, he spoke of Frederick Douglass, who died in 1895, as if he were still alive today. He referred to Douglass as, “… an example of somebody who has done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice.”
During his campaign rallies in 2016, Trump claimed that during the Moro rebellion in the Philippines between 1901 and 1913, U.S. Gen. John Pershing executed Muslim insurgents with bullets dipped in pig’s blood. Trump’s retelling of the myth has changed each time, but no matter, for the story is untrue to begin with. Yet last August, after a terrorist attack in Barcelona, he revived the myth, suggesting that Islamic terrorists should be executed with bullets soaked in pig’s blood.
Are you holding your head and groaning yet? But wait … the best is yet to come.
In March 2017, on a tour of Andrew Jackson’s home in Nashville, Tennessee: “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.’” Did Jackson, who died in 1845, speak from beyond the grave, then? And perhaps Trump forgets that Jackson himself was a slave-owner and firmly believed in the institution of slavery?
Alright … proof enough that he’s no history buff, right? But this week took the prize.
Trump was having a phone conversation with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau regarding the ridiculous tariffs that Trump had implemented against Canada, Mexico and the EU last week. The conversation was not going well, from all indications, and Trudeau was trying to explain to Trump that the tariffs were not a good idea. Trump replied that it was “necessary for national security”. Well, Trudeau reminded Trump that Canada and the U.S. had a familial relationship and how did he figure that Canada was a threat to the national security of the U.S.?
Trump’s response … wait for it, folks … he said … “Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?” referring to the War of 1812 when the BRITS … the British troops … burned down the White House!!!And as I was drifting off to sleep last night, in the back of my mind I could almost hear him saying this one:
When Louis XVI won the popular vote in France, his wife, Marie Antoinette, threw a big bash … a party … with lots of fine food, and she stood up and said to everyone, “Let them eat cake!!!”
Granted, nobody gets everything right all the time, but wouldn’t you think he would accidentally get something right once in a while? Wouldn’t you think his advisors, some of whom surely studied or read history at some point, would coach him, give him a script to follow?
Trump’s ignorance of history is certainly not the most serious of all his actions, but it points to the fact that he is not a thinker, doesn’t care if what he says is right or wrong, as long as he says something. It is embarrassing and reflects poorly on his administration … on this nation.