Donald Trump ridiculed after asking 'why was there the Civil War?'

Andrew Buncombe

Donald Trump has been ridiculed for comments that appear to display a lack of knowledge about the US Civil War and the reasons that led to it.

In an interview broadcast on SiriusXM, the 45th president said that the country’s 7th president, Andrew Jackson, could have stopped it, had he served later.

“I mean had Andrew Jackson been a little bit later you wouldn't have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart,” Mr Trump said.

“He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War, he said ‘There's no reason for this’.”

Mr Trump was immediately criticised for his comments that appeared to suggest a lack of basic knowledge about the civil war, and one of his predecessors in the White House.

Mr Jackson, who was a slave owner, died in 1845, 16 years before the outbreak of the US Civil War, which was fought essentially about the American south’s desire to retain slavery.

“Jackson died in June 1845. He did not have any opinions about the Civil War. He was also a slave owner,” Kevin Kruse, Professor of History at Princeton, told The Independent.

“This highlights a lack of knowledge about basic familiar history.”

During the interview with Salena Zito of the conservative Washington Examiner, Mr Trump questioned why the country could not have solved the issues between the north and south, rather than embarking on four years of brutal fighting that resulted in more deaths than those in World War I and World War II combined.

“People don’t realise, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why,” he said. “People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”

During the interview, the president also compared his win to that of Jackson.

“My campaign and win was most like Andrew Jackson, with his campaign. And I said, when was Andrew Jackson? It was 1828. That’s a long time ago.”

He added: “He had a very, very mean and nasty campaign. Because they said this was the meanest and the nastiest. And unfortunately, it continues.”

It was not the first time that Mr Trump has drawn comparisons between his campaign and that of Jackson.

The Hill said that ahead of a March rally, the president compared his presidency to Jackson’s while marking the birthday of the seventh president.

Speaking outside The Hermitage, Jackson’s estate in Nashville, Tennessee, Mr Trump referred to Jackson as the people’s president.

“It was during the revolution that Jackson first confronted and defied an arrogant elite. Does that sound familiar?”