TrumpWatch, Day 102: Andrew Jackson and Trump’s Tenuous Grasp of Facts


Donald Trump on Andrew Jackson: “He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War.”

Developments on Day 102 of the Trump Administration:

Trump’s Andrew Jackson/Civil War Mistake

In his latest interviews trying to proclaim 100-day success, Donald Trump rewrites history as he pondered “civil war” in the US.

Trump said, in an interview with the Washington Examiner and Sirius XM digital radio, “[President Andrew Jackson] was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War. He said, ‘There’s no reason for this.'”

Jackson, President from 1829 to 1837, died in 1845. The US Civil War began in 1861.

Trump’s error came as he said, “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?”

In fact, the causes of the Civil War are among core issues for historians and are featured in textbooks from middle school to university. Slavery, economic issues, and states’ rights are all discussed as motives that led to the four-year division of the US.

Trump apparently was prompted to make his Andrew Jackson reference because he has been declaring, when asked about any books that he has read, that two Jackson biographies are on the list. White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has pushed Trump to compare himself to Jackson, projecting the image of a candidate who won an unexpected victory by defying the “establishment”. In March, Trump visited Jackson’s grave in Tennessee.

But the error drew further attention to Trump’s tenuous grasp of facts, both historical and contemporary. Soon after his inauguration, the President implied that the 19th-century abolitionist Frederick Douglass is still alive, “an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice”.

Justifying his pursuit of a 2,200-mile border wall with Mexico, Trump said last week that human trafficking is “a problem that’s probably worse than any time in the history of this world”, a claim that seemed to omit the African slave trade.

After a day of incredulous commentary on Twitter, Trump finally tried to walk back his Jackson statement on Monday night:

Administration Pulls Back School Lunch Regulations

The Department of Agriculture eases school lunch regulations implemented by the Obama administration.

Thew Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue unveiled an interim rule on Monday to suspend sodium reduction requirements and whole-grain requirements and allow 1%-fat flavored milk back into school cafeterias nationwide.

“I wouldn’t be as big as I am today without chocolate milk,” Perdue said to reporters.

The new rules roll back the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act championed by Former First Lady Michelle Obama, who worked to establish strict nutritional standards as part of her campaign against obesity.

“We’re not winding back any standards at all,” Perdue insisted. “We are just slowing down the process. I applaud former First Lady Michelle Obama for addressing those obesity problems in the past.”

He said he had decided to make change after hearing from many students who complained about fat-free and reduced-fat chocolate milk.

“This is not reducing the nutritional standards whatsoever,” the former Georgia governor said.

Republicans, farmers, and school groups have said the current rules are overly restrictive and costly to implement.

Administration Ending “Let Girls Learn” Program?

The Trump Administration will discontinue a girls’ education initiative championed by former First Lady Michelle Obama, according to officials.

The “Let Girls Learn” program, started by Barack and Michelle Obama in 2015 to facilitate educational opportunities for adolescent girls in developing countries, will cease operation immediately, according to an internal document.

“Moving forward, we will not continue to use the ‘Let Girls Learn’ brand or maintain a stand-alone program,” read an e-mail sent to Peace Corps employees this week by the agency’s acting director Sheila Crowley.

However, after CNN revealed the officials’ statements and the document, the White House denied any changes to the program.

US Commerce Secretary: Our Missile Attack on Assad Airbase Was “After-Dinner Entertainment”

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross makes light of the first US missile strikes on an Assad regime position, saying they were after-dinner entertainment”.

Ross told an audience of the April 7 launch of 59 Tomahawks on a regime airbase from which a deadly chemical attack was carried out three days earlier. They laughed as he described the atmosphere at Donald Trump’s resort in Florida, where Chinese President Xi Jinping was visiting:

Just as dessert was being served, the president explained to Mr Xi he had something he wanted to tell him, which was the launching of 59 missiles into Syria. It was in lieu of after-dinner entertainment.

The thing was, it didn’t cost the president anything to have that entertainment.

Trump gave his own version of the episode to Fox Business last month, “I was sitting at the table, we had finished dinner. We’re now having dessert — and we had the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen — and President Xi was enjoying it.”

(Cross-posted from Syria Daily)

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