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Trump Says He Doesn’t Know Why the Civil War Happened. Let’s Help Him Out.



It’s morning, which means we have some new bonkers ridiculousness from Donald Trump’s mouth to talk about. Today, he’s questioning the reasoning behind the U.S. Civil War—and not even in the normal, garbage “was it really about slavery?” way (at least I think), but in the “why couldn’t we just work it out? DEALMAKING!” way.

It takes a unique kind of person to look at the Civil War and make it about their brand (DEALS!), but maybe it’s easier to make things all about your brand when everything being about you is your brand? Anyway, Trump got to talking about Andrew Jackson in an interview with Salena Zito (relevant portion here), and for now, we’ll stick with the charitable interpretation that Trump knows Jackson was long dead by the time of the Civil War, judging by the statement: “I mean, had Andrew Jackson been a little later, you wouldn’t have had the Civil War.”

OK, so he might not think Jackson was being recognized more and more by the time the Civil War rolled around, but he then got to his main question: “Why?” Seriously, he said, “People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why?” He followed that brilliant, never-before-explored line of thought with: “People don’t ask that question, but why was there a Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”

Wow, Donald. We’ve never thought about that before (despite the fact that plenty of people are still arguing over it), but now that you mention it, we have a few theories off the top of our heads. Maybe it’s tha—SLAVERY. Hm. I don’t know what happened there. Let’s try again. Perhaps it was bec—SLAVERY. … Huh. I think my keyboard is malfunctioning. Or maybe it wa—SLAVERY. Oh, right. It could be that people shouldn’t own Black people as property. Perhaps that couldn’t be “worked out” because there’s no middle ground between “it’s OK to own people” and “it’s not OK to own people”? There’s no meeting halfway on that issue. It’s kind of an all-or-nothing thing.

Although, if he’s looking for someone who would’ve been interested in finding that middle ground (read: allowing slavery to continue), Andrew Jackson probably would’ve been a solid bet.

It comes as no real surprise that Trump sees human rights as negotiable, but it’s still painful to see him spell it out so plainly. Meanwhile, in the present, he’s had a “very friendly” conversation with Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Phillipines and human rights violator. He even extended an invitation to the White House. Trump is also continuing to ignore violence against gay men in Chechnya while he keeps everyone preoccupied with North Korea saber rattling that, at best, will make things worse. He’s also really happy about how his first 100 days went—despite the reality we all experienced—and pulled his favorite act of playing his own PR person about it, although no fake name was used this time.

If he’s right about one thing, it’s that “why?” has never felt like a more pertinent question.

(image: Shutterstock/a katz)

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Dan is many things, including a game developer, animator, martial artist, and at least semi-professional pancake chef. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (his dog), both of whom are the best.