Former President Donald Trump made a claim on Wednesday that was wild by even his lofty standards. He said he would’ve not only defeated an undead George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in an election but also would’ve wiped them out in a historic landslide.
Speaking at the Hispanic Leadership Conference in Miami, Trump said:
“I remember a very famous pollster, very well known, John McLaughlin, came to my office just prior to the plague coming and he said, ‘Sir, if George Washington and Abraham Lincoln came alive from the dead and they formed a president-vice president team, you would beat them by 40 percent.’ That’s how good our numbers were.”
Notably, Trump did not mention the condition of the zombie presidents in this wild scenario, which would mean a 70-30 landslide victory by Trump:
In the most recent C-SPAN survey of historians about who was the best commander in chief, Lincoln was ranked first and Washington second while Trump finished fourth from last (behind Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson and James Buchanan).
However, Trump might have a case in one sense: Among Republicans, such a race might be close.
In 2019, a Monmouth University poll asked Americans to choose between Washington and Trump. Just 15% chose Trump. But among Republicans, Trump’s numbers surged. Although Washington still would’ve won the hypothetical race, it would’ve been by a close margin, with 44% choosing the Founding Father versus 37% for Trump.
Trump did even better against Lincoln: In a 2019 Economist/YouGov poll of Republican voters, 53% said Trump was better than the 16th president.
Trump has had an on-and-off fixation with favorably comparing himself to the nation’s greatest presidents. In 2020, Trump claimed he had “done more for Black Americans than anybody with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln,” something he had said several times.
Last year, he told a story of being able to defeat a Washington-Lincoln tag team but didn’t include the supposed quote from a pollster.
“I think it would be hard if George Washington came back from the dead and he chose Abraham Lincoln as his vice-president, I think it would have been very hard for them to beat me,” Trump told Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig for their book “I Alone Can Fix It.”
Twitter users mocked Trump over this latest version of the claim: