WASHINGTON May 1 Donald Trump has shown a
fascination with populist 19th-century U.S. president Andrew
Jackson since he has occupied the Oval Office, hanging Old
Hickory's portrait in the Oval Office, visiting his plantation
in Tennessee and placing a wreath at his tomb.
In an interview that aired on Sirius XM satellite radio on
Monday, Trump suggested that if Jackson had governed a little
later than his 1829-1837 terms, the American Civil War might
have been averted. And Trump questioned why the bloody conflict
had to happen.
"Had Andrew Jackson been a little later, you wouldn't have
had the Civil War. He was a very tough person, but he had a big
heart," Trump told Sirius XM. He said that although Jackson was
a "swashbuckler," after his wife died, Jackson visited her grave
Jackson, a slave owner who was instrumental in the forced
removal of Native-American tribes from the U.S. Southeast in the
so-called Trail of Tears, died nearly 16 years before the start
of the Civil War.
But Trump told Sirius XM that Jackson "was really angry that
he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War."
"He said, 'There's no reason for this,'" Trump 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 a Civil
War? Why could that one not have been worked out?"
It was not clear what Trump believed Jackson would have done
to avert the 1861-65 conflict.
The events leading to the Civil War have been extensively
researched, with slavery being one of the root causes. Slavery
and its legacy have been a source of division in the United
By the time of his death, Jackson owned about 150 slaves who
lived and worked at his plantation, the Hermitage. During his
time in office, Jackson denounced the growing activity of
abolitionists seeking an end to slavery.
Trump and his supporters have likened his election victory
to Jackson's triumph in 1828, when Old Hickory became the first
U.S. president from what was then the western frontier of
The populist Democrat famously opened the White House to all
comers after his inauguration, turning the normally dignified
executive mansion into a mob scene.
(Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)