Yes, Trump really is stupid enough to ask “Why was there a Civil War?”

❝ Donald Trump expressed confusion in an interview published on Monday as to why the civil war had taken place. He also claimed that President Andrew Jackson, who died 16 years before the war started, “was really angry” about the conflict.

Trump also said Jackson, a slaveholder and war hero who led a relocation and extermination campaign against Native Americans, “had a big heart”.

On Monday night, Trump sought to clarify his remarks, arguing in a tweet that Jackson had predicted the Civil War and would have prevented it had he not died 16 years prior…

Clarification? More like tweaking his ignorance after someone pointed it out.

The civil war was fought over slavery – the enslavement in the United States of African Americans – and related territorial, economic and cultural struggles. Jackson died in 1845. The first shot was fired by forces of the secessionist, slaveholding states on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, on 12 April 1861.

Defenders of Trump’s creative approach to history argued on Monday that the president was referring to a successful effort by Jackson in the 1830s to put down a secessionist threat. Nothing in Trump’s statement, however, indicates knowledge of the earlier episode, which was not part of the civil war.

And nothing in the resolution of that secessionist skirmish included the later attempted expansion of slavery to the American West.

❝ Trump’s statements drew expressions of extreme disbelief and consternation online. Many scholars noted that the investigation of the civil war’s roots was one of the richest veins in all of US historiography.

“Footnote for non-US readers,” tweeted the Guardian contributor Sarah Churchwell, a professor of American literature at the University of London. “There are probably as many books about the origins of our Civil War as about the origins of world war II.”

Time and again Trump relies on the core racism infecting his supporters. Yes, yes, often they are the sort of bigots who’ve realized that public expressions of racism aren’t acceptable in front of most Americans. They’ve learned all the Republican code words. They know the rote rationales for the Civil War tuned and tempered by generations of self-deception. They’re never going to offend their neighbors who are open bigots – rather than stand up for Constitutional standards of equal opportunity.

They will accept every excuse blathered out on Fox Noise over the coming week – by Trump and his acolytes.

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