If you’ve been keeping up with our weekly coverage of the Trump administration’s seemingly interminable downward spiral, then you’ve no doubt noticed that the White House has a funny way of dealing with the past. Since the days of the campaign (and probably well before then if we're honest), Trump's understanding of American history has been spotty at best, which puts his press team in between a rock and a hard place when they have to attempt to translate his ramblings. Listening to Trump on history is like listening to a child talk about what they learned in school that day. His speeches are filled with incoherent ramblings that are baffling at best, and factually bankrupt at worst.
The Trump administration has reconstructed history through their particular lens, and, by doing so, they whitewash significant events while attempting to turn America into a kind of GOP Disneyland. When Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly discussed the Civil War with Fox News, he pushed aside the notion that the war was fought over slavery – which it was – and claimed that it was about a "lack of compromise." This line of thought is offensive on a molecular level, and it also shows the depths that the Trump White House will go to in order to realign history with its values.
In a few instances, there have been Trump staff resignations over how bad his employees have been at lying to the American people and the press, but unfortunately, everyone that’s left in the White House seems to be A-OK with just making stuff up. Steel yourself, and keep reading to find out all the ways that the Trump administration is wrong about history. Brought to you by the administration that coined "alternative facts."
Sean Spicer Claims Hitler Never Used Chemical Weapons
On April 11, 2017, Sean Spicer didn't just shove his foot in his mouth. He somehow managed to swallow himself whole, leaving nothing more than a pin-sized hole where the former Press Secretary once stood. After President Bashar al-Assad of Syria used sarin gas to attack a village, Spicer claimed that al-Assad was worse than Hitler because Hitler, at least, didn't use chemical weapons.
Spicer's statement ignores the fact that Hitler used gas chambers to commit genocide during the Holocaust. To make matters worse, Spicer said all of this in the middle of Passover.
Donald Trump Inaccurately Praises General Pershing's Alleged Treatment Of Muslims
There's a story about General Pershing, a senior United States Army officer who served as the commander of the American Expeditionary Force on the Western Front in World War I, that involves him dipping his bullets in pig's blood before executing POWs in order to inspire fear in Muslims during a conflict in the Phillipines. The story goes that this inspired so much fear in Pershing's Muslim enemies (Muslims consider pig’s blood to be unholy and ingesting pork to be a sin) that the conflict ended. This story is a straight-up lie, but Trump used it over and over at campaign rallies, and he even tweeted about it in 2017.
Christopher Capozzola, a history professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology said "There were deliberate efforts to offend Muslim Filipinos’ religious sensibilities, And yes, there was large-scale violence against their communities. But I know of no event like the one that Mr. Trump describes.”
Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
Donald Trump Claims That He Wasn't All For The Iraq War When He Definitely Was
This lie technically happened prior to Trump's presidency, but it's so in your face that it has to be discussed. At a 2016 Indiana campaign stop, Trump claimed that he was against the Iraq war from the very beginning. He told his audience, “It should have never happened,” as Indiana Gov. Mike Pence stood by his side. “I didn’t want to go from the beginning, and I have proof – from the beginning. I didn’t want Iraq. I said you’re going to destabilize the Middle East, and that’s exactly what happened.” But here's the thing, in 2002, six months before the Iraq war, Trump appeared on The Howard Stern Show and said that said that he supported invading the Middle East.
This is also the guy who claims that he saw Muslims cheering during 9/11, so what else do you expect? If you want to drive yourself extra crazy, watch Donald Trump perform verbal gymnastics to Anderson Cooper in order to try and get around the fact that he was all for invading the Middle East.
Sean Spicer Straight Up Lies About Trump's Inauguration Crowd Size
In more recent history, who can forget Inauguration-Gate? Oh those halcyon days when all anyone had to worry about was the size of Trump's inaugural crowd. The whole thing started when the Twitter feed for the National Parks Service tweeted a side-by-side comparison of Trump's inauguration crowd with President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration. Much to the President's chagrin, even Bernie Sanders got in on the fun.
The day after the inauguration, the debacle was left to Sean Spicer to clean up, and instead of being honest about the crowd size, he threw down one of the first big lies to come from the Press Secretary's podium:
“Yesterday, at a time when our nation and the world was watching the peaceful transition of power and, as the president said, the transition and the balance of power from Washington to the citizens of the United States, some members of the media were engaged in deliberately false reporting.”
He went after The New York Times for tweeting photos of the crowd/doing their jobs, and then he dropped the lie that would become the basis for Trump's presidency: “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration—period—both in person and around the globe.”