In wake of DAPL executive order, Trump hangs Andrew Jackson painting in Oval Office

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

President Donald Trump has signed two executive orders to expedite the review of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, two oil pipelines encroaching on Native American land.

In a press conference Monday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump would continue pursuing these projects to "increase jobs, increase economic growth and tap into America's energy supply." 

These selling points, of course, come with one enormous caveat: The construction of these pipelines would likely contaminate Native Americans' drinking water and cost them their lives.

Along with Trump's decision to push forward with the pipelines — a literal representation of his disregard for the health and well-being of Native Americans — came a symbolic one.

According to the New York Times, Trump had a portrait of Andrew Jackson — the president responsible for the Indian Removal Act and consequently the Trail of Tears — installed in the Oval Office on Tuesday.

Trump and his administration consider Jackson the first populist president and, therefore, an idol.

Trump holds up the executive order he signed Tuesday to expedite the review of the Dakota Access pipeline.
Source: 
Evan Vucci/AP

Jackson's policies called for the removal of roughly 125,000 Native Americans, who U.S. military troops forced off their Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina and Florida lands. Troops marched them thousands of miles without any food, supplies or other government assistance, which resulted in some 5,000 deaths.

Given Jackson's dark legacy, news that Harriet Tubman would replace him on the $20 was met with celebration from those who agreed it was better to spotlight a woman who had helped free slaves rather than a president who had owned slaves himself. 

Though Jackson may be demoted from the nation's currency, for the next four years at least, he'll have a mantle in Trump's office. 

A statue of Andrew Jackson stands in Lafayette Square.
Source: 
Karen Bleier/Getty Images

Many people have even drawn comparisons between Trump and Jackson, with National Public Radio host Steve Inskeep joking that Trump is to Twitter fights as Jackson is to live duels, the Times reported.

"They're both seen as uncompromising fighters who took the side of the people they were loyal to," he said, according to the Times. "They fought for those people and for themselves as well and didn't care who else got hurt."

And at a dinner last week, Vice President Mike Pence marveled at Trump's victory, "There hasn't been anything like this since Andrew Jackson."

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Marie Solis

Marie is a Slay staff writer with focuses in culture and class. Her writing has appeared in Gothamist and the Awl. You can reach her at marie@mic.com.

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