Donald Trump: Civil War Historian and Preservationist

I know some of you enjoyed a good laugh yesterday in response to a New York Times story about Donald Trump’s golf course in Virginia, which includes a historical marker to a battle that never took place. I did as well. The story can now be found on all of the major news sites, but no one has offered any reflections about what this tells us about Trump or his understanding and use of history. Perhaps it’s obvious, but I decided to give it a shot for The Daily Beast. TDB does no longer allows comments so feel free to leave your thoughts below.

You should also check out Craig Swain’s post on this issue. In it he references two Union soldiers shot and killed by civilians. Not much is known about the incident.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and safe travels.

24 comments… add one
  • Sandi Saunders Nov 25, 2015

    “HISTORY BUFFOON” is spot on.

    • Kevin Levin Nov 25, 2015

      Just for the record, I do not make the decisions regarding title and lead. That said, “History Buffoon” is certainly appropriate.

  • James F. Epperson Nov 25, 2015

    I’ll pass on the opportunity to express my opinion of Mr. Trump, but I will say that it is probable that he heard about Ball’s Bluff being nearby, and figured that was close enough for his purposes. The phrase “river ran red” is used in connection with Ball’s Bluff, I believe.

    • Kevin Levin Nov 25, 2015

      I agree that he may have heard it in reference to Balls Bluff, but that doesn’t help his case one bit.

      • James F. Epperson Nov 25, 2015

        Of course not. But this is all part of his schtick, that if he says something often enough, loudly enough, and forcefully enough, it will become true.

  • Annette Jackson Nov 25, 2015

    How much do I hate the fool? Let me count the ways…

    • Marian Latimer Nov 25, 2015

      I’m with you. This guy is some kind of perv on top of everything else. He buys beauty pageants and sits in the audience with his tongue hanging out (metaphorically) for the close-up camera shots. He’s like a relative of mine who used to come around and was an expert on everything. She knew it all and despite barely finishing high school (and the jury is still out on that) she would expound at great length no matter what the subject, speaking to all present like they were the village idiots or under ten years old, the latter of which has been what Trump has been accused of and I agree. He bought a golf course down the road where I was living in NC when I first came here and it’s in a plush area–not that I let that keep me from driving my wreck of a car around through it. The Charlotte stations that sent their female reporters out all got the personal Trump treatment, including a hands on (gag) tour of the Trump jet by the big jerk himself and his panting tongue. One of these unfortunate women sort of intimated with her body language after the fact, (he sat across from them in the plane and kept leaning forward and touching them in each one-on-one tour) hinted that she’d be burning her clothes and showering with Clorox. The thing of it is, some people I know and respect are actually afraid this jackass could get elected and they are drawing some pretty good comparisons to other times in history and also just plain pointing to the idiot masses this guy is drawing out.

  • Brad Nov 25, 2015

    I wouldn’t expect anything less from him. I don’t hate him; that would require investing some emotions that I don’t wish to spend on him.

  • Rory Washburn Nov 25, 2015

    I’d say that this is par for the course for Trump.

  • To borrow a phrase used in another context around the historical blogosphere, Trump is “the gift that keeps on giving.”

  • Joshism Nov 25, 2015

    Nothing says preservation like a marker on a golf course!

  • Rob Orrison Nov 26, 2015

    Thanks for sharing Craig Swain’s blog post on this issue…Craig I think did a great job framing the historical context. Being from that area, there is a lot of good history there, but not as Trump labeled it (he definitely did not preserve it). I saw this plaque five years ago while walking various Potomac fords with some local historian friends. We just shook our heads and moved on. Of course back then, Trump was just a TV star and we dismissed it as silliness.

    • Kevin Levin Nov 26, 2015

      It is incredibly silly, but alongside his claims about a cheering Muslim community in Jersey City on 9-11 it tells us something important about the extent he will go to manipulate the past and other people for his own selfish purposes. Again, I think this goes beyond simply stretching the truth, which is a pillar of American politics.

  • Bryan Cheeseboro Nov 26, 2015

    If he gets elected, I can only see it happening through very shady circumstances. He’s alienated far too many people.

  • Sherree Nov 26, 2015

    I have one word for Trump: demagogue. I truly hope he is just a buffoon.

    Your article in TDB is excellent, Kevin. You seem to be creating a new space here–an intersection of academia, the general public, and journalists. Interesting… Here we go again….another election cycle. Glad you are still here. I remember your blogging when Obama was elected–that interplay of past and present. Maybe we are at that again–Trump as “Northern” recalcitrant racist, Reconstruction style revisited, backed by his Confederate heritage compatriots. (also recalcitrant racists and also revisited, ad nauseam, at this point…When will it end….)

  • David Nov 27, 2015

    I believe the words trump and insanity go hand in hand.

  • Patrick Jennings Nov 27, 2015

    What can you say?

  • Patrick Jennings Nov 27, 2015

    OK, I guess I can add more…go figure.

    I think I am more depressed that Trump put his artificial family crest over his artificial marker more than that he created an artificial battle. At least the sham battle might, might encourage people to give to battlefield preservation causes.

    Maybe.

    • Kevin Levin Nov 27, 2015

      I would say that from the first word to the last, including the crest, it’s all about Donald Trump. πŸ™‚

  • Nathan Towne Jan 18, 2016

    Mr. Levin,

    I am sure that you and I agree on many issues but I am also of the impression that you and I probably have our differences with regards to political issues, our respective visions for the United States, our understanding of Constitutional Law e.t.c. With that said, even as a politically “Independent” voter, I have to say that I am truly embarrassed that Donald Trump has had the success that he has had to this point in the Republican Party primary. To me, it is borderline saddening.

    Nathan Towne

  • Nathan Towne Jan 22, 2016

    In fairness, he is an entertaining person though. πŸ™‚

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MdIri5ji68

Leave a Comment