The Atlantic

Trump's Peculiar Understanding of the Civil War

The president’s admiration for deal-making and strong leadership lead him to suggest that Andrew Jackson could have stopped the Civil War.
Source: Alex Brandon / AP

When presidents play historian, it almost always says more about them than it does with history. In this respect, Donald Trump is just like his predecessors.

In an interview with Salena Zito for Sirius XM radio, Trump discussed the nastiness of the 2016 campaign. (Sirius released a clip; the full interview is to air Monday afternoon.) He was told that the 1828 race between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson was the most similar, he said.

“I said, ‘When was Andrew Jackson?’ It was 1828, that’s a long time ago, that was Andrew Jackson,” Trump said, a sign that the history to follow would be somewhat shaky. Reminiscing about a visit to

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