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  • Writer's pictureJames McGee

Historical Note. Well, sort of...

Y’know, those of us who attempt to write historical fiction do our level best to get our background details correct. No, we do, trust me. Sometimes, though, despite all the research, we still end up making idiots of ourselves due to information we’ve over-looked, misinterpreted, or nicked – sorry, borrowed – from another author’s work, oblivious to the fact that they got it wrong in the first place because their research wasn’t as forensic as it could have been either. Some you win, some you lose, etc…

But while most of us cringe when we realize we’ve screwed up, there is a new addition to the fold who positively wallows in his ignorance. In fact, he’s made a career of it; an individual who has taken historical fiction to a whole new level.

The Donald.

Yes, him, President of the USA, AKA The Trumpster, The Great Gutsby, The Brooklyn Bolshevik, Tweetle-Dumb, King Gorge and so on and so forth.

If you want to see an expanded list of Trump-related nicknames, check out:

Any road, the point of all this is that I was directed towards a recent article in the online version of NewsWeek.


In its turn the article referred to Trump’s interview with The New York Times.

To say the interview was wide-ranging is something of an understatement. I think rambling is the word I’m searching for, though, on reflection, that's too polite a term. Put it this way, if you think John Prescott is borderline inarticulate, you ain’t read nothing yet.

Dotted within the incoherent utterances are a number of nuggets that were picked out by Newsweek as examples of the man’s woeful knowledge of, as the above headline states, U.S. and World history.

You’d have thought that heading to France he’d have boned up – er, sorry; in retrospect, that’s probably not the phrase to use, but too late now – on French history.

Referring to his love fest with President Emmanuel Macron, Trump mentioned a conversation the two of them had on the topic of the French Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, while they were visiting Napoleon’s tomb.

“Well, Napoleon finished a little bit bad. But I asked that. So I asked the president (Macron): ‘So what about Napoleon?’ He said, ‘No, no, no. What he did was incredible. He designed Paris. The street grid, the way they work, you know, the spokes. He did so many things even beyond. And his one problem is he didn’t go to Russia that night because he had extracurricular activities, and they froze to death. How many times has Russia been saved by the weather?”

Jeez Louise, even if you ignore the snippets of gobbledegook you have to ask yourself: WTF?

Well, first off, he clearly wasn't paying proper attention when Macron tried to educate him on the redesign of Paris (most likely he was too busy ogling the French President’s wife) as it wasn’t Napoleon I who commissioned the renovation, it was his nephew, Napoleon III, some 30 years after his uncle had died.

And God only knows what the Golden Wrecking Ball (Sarah Palin came up with that one!) was on about when he attempted to describe Bonaparte’s disastrous invasion of Russia, where, after being drawn deeper into the country by Alexander’s troops, tens of thousands of Bonaparte’s soldiers died of exhaustion, thirst or starvation in the scorching summer heat. Then, when reaching a deserted and burned-down Moscow, Napoleon was forced to order a retreat as winter was approaching. Tens of thousands more troops perished in the cold and the snow.

All this of course, was prior to his forced abdication and before he was sent into exile – twice – ending his days cooped up on a remote volcanic outcrop in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean, where he suffered what had to have been an agonizing death from stomach cancer.

'A little bit bad'? Seriously?

And as for those 'extracurricular activities', well, your guess is as good as mine.

Er, not tonight Melania?

Sorry, couldn't resist...

The history lesson then continued apace, with Trump displaying his deep understanding of why Hitler's offensive against the same country also failed.

“But the Russians have great fighters in the cold. They use the cold to their advantage. I mean, they’ve won five wars where the armies that went against them froze to death. It’s pretty amazing.”

German POWs in Russia

Which is almost as crass as the remarks he made during his earlier trip to Warsaw when, in describing how Poland faced both Nazi and Soviet invasion during World War II, he declared, “That’s trouble. That’s tough.”

Well, that certainly sums it up in a nutshell, Don.

Sadly, the Orange One’s dubious knowledge of past world events isn’t confined to foreign climes. He's also a tad sketchy when it comes to American history.

Back in May, he attracted derision when posing a question about something that is considered such common knowledge it’s even included on the U.S. citizenship test.

“People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”

Er, ever heard of slavery, Donald?

He then went on to state that Andrew Jackson was ‘angry about the Civil War and could potentially have stopped it.’

Not likely. Jackson died in 1845, 16 years before the Civil War began.

And then, to cap it all, when pontificating upon a president he supposedly admires - Abraham Lincoln - he suggested that the well-known fact that Lincoln was a member of the Republican Party is far from well known.

“Most people don’t even know he was a Republican, right? Does anyone know? A lot of people don’t know that. We have to build that up a little more.”

Well, leaving aside the dodgy Michael Caine impersonation, you could indeed do that, old son.

In fact, ‘build that up’ gives me an idea. How about some sort of plaque on the Mexican side of that wall you're planning, build.?

Anyway, no biggie; it's just a thought.

Honestly, you do wonder why the rest of us even bother to put pen to paper.

ps...just realized why there was something about that interview that sounded eerily familiar. Remember that classic Morecambe and Wise sketch?

Or as The Trumpster might put it:

'I'm saying all the right words, but not necessarily in the right order...'

pps...if you want a real laugh, check out the actor Ron Perlman on the AM Joy show on MSNBC Live. His Trump impersonation is priceless.

ppps...Trump came up with this gem at a rally in Youngstown, Ohio, the other evening:

"With the exception of the late, great Abraham Lincoln, I can be more presidential than any president that's ever held this office."

Was he joking? A jest at the expense of the media? If he was then, tee hee.

If he wasn't then, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.....

Right, that's it. I'll stop now.

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