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'Most Fact-Challenged Politician Ever' Trump Asks Why Civil War Happened


"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?" (Photo: Victoria Pickering/flickr/cc)

President Donald Trump is officially the most "fact-challenged" politician that the Washington Post's Fact Checker has ever encountered, columnists Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee reported Monday, just hours before the president claimed in a radio interview that "people don't ask" why the Civil War happened.

In his first 100 days in office, they report, Trump has made 488 false or misleading claims—an average of 4.9 a day; gone no more than 10 days, counting six on a golfing vacation, without a single false claim; and made 20 or more false claims on four separate days.

His falsehoods ranged from taking credit for the January jobs report that showed the U.S. had created 216,000 new jobs, even though the data came from before he took office, to claiming the "failing" New York Times "had to" apologize to its readers for the coverage they gave him. It isn't, and it didn't.

Even the statement "We are keeping one promise after another," which Trump said during a Pennsylvania rally to mark his 100 days, was a lie, the Post noted, in that he has broken five of his campaign pledges and taken no action on more than half of the others—perhaps most notably his vow to "drain the swamp" of corporate interests, which he has followed up on by appointing CEOs, bankers, and lobbyists to crucial White House positions.

The Post's tally came just before the Washington Examiner published an excerpt of an upcoming interview between Trump and Examiner journalist Salena Zito for Sirius XM's "POTUS" station in which the president called seventh U.S. President Andrew Jackson a "swashbuckler" and asked why there was a Civil War.

Trump said of the slave-owning president who signed the Indian Removal Act and died 16 years before the war began in 1861, "He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart. And he was really angry that—he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War. He said, 'There's no reason for this.' 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?"


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The comments unsurprisingly drew condemnation and outrage.

"President Trump doesn't understand why there was a Civil war," Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) tweeted. "It's because my ancestors and millions of others were enslaved."

Symone D. Sanders, a CNN political commentator and former national press secretary for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), tweeted, "UMMM... SLAVERY. The thing southern states were most concerned about in 1861 was the right to perpetuate slavery."

Times journalist Binyamin Appelbaum added, "I'm excited for next year when Trump finds out about the American Revolution. Wait, there was a king?"

The Post's tally was published just days after a slew of progressive watchdogs released their own "100 days" reports finding that as the Trump administration cracks down on human rights and environmental protections, it is simultaneously awakening a "golden era" of activism.

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