Let me start with some analysis to this crazy news story. And I can be punchy, short, and accurate all at the same time.
Donald Trump is abysmally stupid. How much dumber than Trump must his base be to take him seriously?
And as Paul Harvey would say, (with a lift in his voice on the last word) “now the news”.
Trump praised Confederate General Robert E. Lee while asking African American voters to “honor us” by voting Republican. He actually made that comment while at an Ohio rally that featured an unexpected and provocative monologue on America’s Civil War history.
Trump regaled the Ohio rally of around 4,000 of his kind with nuggets such as Lee was a “true great fighter” and “great general.” We know that Trump can be summed up as non-reading, lacking education, and incurious. So of course he is an expert on HISTORY.
We also know that Lee was not only a slave-owner, but was a literal traitor to the United States. It is that last point as to why I have a problem with statutes to Confederates. They worked to undermine and destroy the Union.
Lee fought to destroy our union in defense of slavery. When his army invaded Pennsylvania any African American which was captured (even ones who had won their freedom) were put in chains and shipped down south. I understand that military tacticians will argue he was a great general, but I argue that we should not glorify or praise him any more than we would praise German generals that fought for the Nazi’s. There is a higher moral calling which we must always include when making assessments about those we wish to place on a pedestal.
Trump also said President Abraham Lincoln (it should be noted only Trump on this blog does not get that title which every other person elected to the White House receives) once had a “phobia” of the Southern general. Phobia is not a word historians associate with Lincoln’s feelings on Lee, but it is true the president was often frustrated by the slow pace of union progress.
Trump’s comments came during a rambling anecdote about Ohio-born President Ulysses S. Grant’s alleged drinking problems. “So Robert E. Lee was a great general. And Abraham Lincoln developed a phobia. He couldn’t beat Robert E. Lee. Robert E. Lee was winning battle after battle after battle.”
“And Abraham Lincoln came home, he said, ‘I can’t beat Robert E. Lee. They said to Lincoln, ‘You can’t use him anymore, he’s an alcoholic.’ And Lincoln said, ‘I don’t care if he’s an alcoholic, frankly, give me six or seven more just like him.’ He started to win.”
My readers know I love history. I adore President Lincoln. I also have deep affection for facts.
What Trump missed was that long before Grant was selected by Lincoln the Union had claimed numerous early victories. In 1861, the North overwhelmed the South in the Battle of Big Bethel, Battle of Boonville and Battle of Hoke’s Run. And one of the most decisive conflicts was the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. James and I visited that site in 2017. Lee was vanquished in that battle and for Trump’s education I will add that the Union General who did that was George Meade, not Grant.
What these verbal stunts, such as the words from Trump in Ohio proves, is that this nation is experiencing a huge backlash to our first black President, a decent, caring, extremely bright man hated by every white supremacist in the land.
The south lost the Civil War which was fought over slavery. Someone should tell Trump and his supporters the bad news.
And someone should break the news to Trump that African-Americans are not voting for the GOP.