A short paragraph in Donald Trump’s acceptance speech about votes in past Presidential elections went generally unnoticed even by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, but it has drawn the ire of a group of prominent historians. In the paragraph, Trump described about his triumphs in this year’s Presidential primary elections.
“Who would’ve believed that when we started this journey on June 16th last year, we would have received almost 14 million votes, the most in the history of the Republican Party. And get this: I got far more votes than George Washington and Thomas Jefferson combined ever got. I got four times as many votes as Abraham Lincoln received in both his Presidential campaigns! People love me. Why, I could stand in the middle of the National Mall and toss grenades at the monuments and I wouldn’t lose any voters,” Trump boasted.
In a statement released to the press yesterday, Ivy Anderson, Executive Director of the American Society of Professional Historians, stated that “Mr. Trump’s effort to establish a historical connection between his political victories and that of Presidents Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln is erroneous. While Trump is correct about the numbers, his claim proves nothing. Both Washington and Jefferson were elected by state legislatures. Popular voting for Presidents didn’t come in until the 1820s. And while Lincoln received 1,866,452 votes in 1860 and 2,218,388 votes in 1864, that was over 150 years ago. The population of the country was far smaller then than it is now. In 1860 the total population of the United States was 31,443,321. Today, it’s 317 million people, over ten times more. Speaking on behalf of the profession, I must say that when it comes to history Mr. Trump appears to be very poorly educated.”
The release of Anderson’s statement quickly prompted a series of indignant tweets from the Republican nominee:
Donald J. Trump
These crooked historians have rigged the story to make me look bad. These people are sick!
Donald J. Trump
History is a failing profession that’s lost its way. Nobody reads history books anymore. They’re so boring! To be honest, I’ve never been able to get through one. SAD!
Donald J. Trump
History is bunk! That’s why I won with overwhelming support from voters who are poorly educated about history. I love people who are poorly educated about history!
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