Civil War Professor Donald Trump Tells Rally Crowd: 'Robert E. Lee Was a Great General'

Illustration for article titled Civil War Professor Donald Trump Tells Rally Crowd: 'Robert E. Lee Was a Great General'
Screenshot: The Hill

Donald Trump is a man of many trash talents.

Proud purveyor of gold potties, grand assessor of IQ’s, unquestioned king of dragging bits of toilet paper stuck to his shoe onto Air Force One, it also turns out Trump is a quite the Civil War enthusiast.


Trump flexed his history chops at a campaign rally in Ohio on Friday night, during which he called Confederate leader Robert E. Lee “a great general” and “incredible” in an extended monologue about the Civil War.

But in fact, the focus of his meandering history lesson was actually Ulysses S. Grant, an Ohio native, and how it came to be that Abraham Lincoln charged the West Point graduate, who had a widely known drinking problem, with taking on the revered Confederate general.

Interestingly, video of the rally, shared by The Hill, shows the Ohio crowd cheering Lee nearly as much as they did the native son who fought against him.

The whole point of this history lesson? As USA Today notes, Trump was portraying Lincoln and his other Union generals as political elites.

“They looked great. They were the top of their class at West Point. They were the greatest people,” he said. “There was only one problem: They didn’t know how the hell to win.”


And so, Trump says, Lincoln turned to an unlikely candidate.

“They said ‘Don’t take him; he’s got a drinking problem.’ And Lincoln said, ‘I don’t care what problem he has. You guys aren’t winning.’ And his name was Grant, General Grant,” Trump said, to applause from the Lebanon, Ohio, crowd.


In Trump’s Civil War lecture, Grant—who would end up becoming America’s 18th president—seems to be a clear stand-in for Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s recent pick for the Supreme Court who has been credibly accused of multiple instances of sexual assault, as well as being a heavy drinker.

Of course, Trump couldn’t tell the story without praising a man who literally fought against the United States, and the crowd couldn’t help but applaud Gen. Lee—a slaveowner, literal traitor, but presumably, a “very fine” person.


As the Hill reports, while Trump has repeatedly defended depictions of Lee that have become the subject of controversy, it’s really Lincoln that Trump sees as his peer.

“With the exception of the late, great Abraham Lincoln, I can be more presidential than any president that’s ever held this office,” Trump told a Youngstown crowd last year.


I guess it’s time to add “wypipo’s great emancipator” to Trump’s list of accomplishments.

Staff writer, The Root.


The President giving a Confederate general props in Lebanon, Ohio while comparing Ulysses S. Grant to Brett Kavanaugh and saying that he’s the best president since Abraham Lincoln...