It’s not unusual for an American president to try and learn from this nation’s history. But the lessons that President Donald Trump has apparently drawn from his studies border on the surreal.
“People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why?” he said. “People don’t ask the question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”
Many people do ask why the Civil War took place, and its causes are among the most thoroughly documented and analyzed subjects in American history. Its root cause was the Confederate states’ desire to preserve slavery, as Confederate leaders acknowledged at the time. The subject of slavery receives extensive treatment at the National Museum of African American History, which Trump visited in February; it’s unclear how much information the president absorbed from his trip.