While praising Andrew Jackson, Donald Trump wonders aloud, "Why was there the Civil War?"

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

President Donald Trump desperately needs a history lesson.

In an interview with the Washington Examiner's Salena Zito, Trump praised former President Andrew Jackson — a slave owner whose actions led to the genocide of thousands of Native Americans in the "Trail of Tears" — and questioned why the Civil War was necessary.

"He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War, he said, 'There's no reason for this,'" Trump said of Jackson. "People don't realize, you know, the Civil War. If you think about it, why? People don't ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?"

There's an easy answer: slavery. At the time Civil War broke out, southern states were in the process of breaking from the Union over their desire to protect their right to own slaves. 

And while it's the first time Trump has publicly questioned the necessity of the Civil War, it's not the first time Trump has praised Jackson — whom Trump keeps a portrait of in the Oval Office. Trump views himself as a modern-day Jackson, praising Jackson's populist roots.

Yet Jackson was also behind some extremely shameful moments in American history, among them Jackson's signing of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which forced the removal of Native Americans from five tribes from their land and resulted in the Trail of Tears. There, thousands of Native Americans died from starvation, exposure and disease. 

What's more, Trump's timeline, which has Jackson "angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War," deserves a fact check.

Jackson died in 1845, nearly 16 years before the Civil War broke out. 

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Emily C. Singer

Emily C. Singer, née Cahn, is a senior writer for Mic covering politics. She is based in New York and can be reached at esinger@mic.com

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