President Trump recently sat down with the conservative Washington Examiner and during that conversation, Andrew Jackson and the Civil War came up.
And rather than try to summarize what President Trump said about the “swashbuckling” president and the worst part of our nation’s history, here’s the audio (from Sirius XM’s P.O.T.U.S.’s Main Street Meets the Beltway show):
So … um … yeah. That clip has led to a lot of head-scratching on Twitter, as people have been sent scrambling trying to figure out what exactly the current president was trying to say. The statement itself is a little far-flung, so some have taken it to mean that Jackson was around when the Civil War was underway (he died in 1845, the war started in 1861). Others have suggested that Trump was, in a roundabout way, referencing Jackson's opposition to his VP and the Nullification Crisis of the 1830s, which involved a confrontation between South Carolina and the federal government over tariffs.
Trump's statement is also being eviscerated by some because of its portrait of Jackson as a guy with a “big heart,” when he was the one who called for an Indian Removal Act and eventually signed one into law. (Jackson was orphaned by the time he was 14, so that gives his anger context, but doesn't come close to absolving his policy toward Native Americans.)
And then there's the final parting question in the clip, where President Trump declares: “People don't ask that question, why was there a Civil War?” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) was quick to blast that one by saying:, “It's because my ancestors and millions of others were enslaved.”
Whatever President Trump's intent was in tipping his hat to our seventh president (who once survived an assassination attempt and then apocryphally beat his would-be assassin), it's led to some pretty great tweets. Find those below.
(Side note: Jackson pushed for the abolition of the Electoral College, which is a small but delightful irony in all of this.)