There’s one thing about former president Donald Trump that we can’t deny: his (often misplaced) sense of confidence.
When it comes to history, Trump isn’t shy to flaunt his ‘wealth of knowledge’ to the world – despite mostly getting it wrong.
After all, he did reveal to Megyn Kelly in 2016 that he only reads “passages”, “areas” and “chapters” of books because he doesn’t “have the time”.
Here are some of his worst gaffes when it comes to world politics and history:
He thinks the Taliban have been fighting for ‘a thousand years’
In a rambling interview with Sean Hannity this week, Trump described the Taliban as “great negotiators.”
He told the Fox News anchor, “What happened and what is happening in Afghanistan is unbelievable and we’re being set up by very tough people that are very great negotiators.
“I’ll tell you what, they’re great automatic negotiators, they’ve been fighting for a thousand years”, he added.
Of course, this is fake news, as the militant group is less than 30 years old.
The Taliban – which translates to ‘students’ in the Pashto language – actually emerged in 1994 in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar.
He failed to understand Dunkirk was a success
The 45th President took to Twitter on Tuesday with a cryptic press statement about the Afghanistan crisis. In very few words, he wrote: “This could be—Afghanistan—another Dunkirk.”
It seems more likely that the 45th president has failed to pick up a history book to learn that 198,000 British and 140,000 French troops were saved at Dunkirk – 380,000 soldiers altogether.
He loves Abraham Lincoln so much that he publicly misquoted him on his birthday
Trump’s admiration for the 16th President is well-known, “He was a man who was of great intelligence, which most presidents would be”, he told Bob Woodward in April 2016. He also noted on several occasions that Trump himself was more presidential than anyone “other than the great Abe Lincoln.”
His fondness for Lincoln prompted the former president to commemorate his birthday on social media. He took to Twitter with a picture of his grave, accompanied with the quote, “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years,” to pay homage to his hero.
Unfortunately, Lincoln never uttered this motivational speech in his life and the tweet was soon deleted.
He said no politician has ever been treated worse than he had
“No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly”, Trump confidently proclaimed to a class of U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduates.
This seems a tad dramatic, considering four US Presidents had previously been assassinated.
He said Andrew Jackson was really angry with the Civil War – despite dying 16 years prior
Trump said President Andrew Jackson would have stopped the Civil War during a Sirius XM interview.
“I mean, had Andrew Jackson been a little later you wouldn’t have had the Civil War,” he said.
“He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart. He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War. He said ‘There’s no reason for this.’”
Former President Jackson died in 1845 — 16 years before the Civil War had even begun.
He said the Bible is his ‘favourite book’, but he couldn’t name his favourite verse – “It’s just incredible”
In August 2015, Trump was asked what his favourite Bible verse was after stating it as his favourite book. “I wouldn’t want to get into it. Because to me, that’s very personal,” he said. “The Bible means a lot to me, but I don’t want to get into specifics.”
He was then asked the much more straightforward question of which he preferred: the Old Testament or the New Testament, to which he responded that they were “probably equal” and that he thinks “it’s just incredible.”
Speaking on which part of the Bible defined his character, Trump answered: “eye for an eye.”
Awkwardly, Jesus rejected that principle during the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew.
His take on ‘what’s happening in Sweden’ – when nothing was happening in Sweden
Back at a February 2017 rally, Trump started speaking on immigration in Europe. “We’ve got to keep our country safe”, he urged.
“You look at what’s happening in Germany. You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.”
Later, he took to Twitter to clarify he wasn’t referring to a particular news event.
He claimed the Paris Climate Change agreement was a trick
Trump claimed that other countries and world leaders were laughing at the United States for its role in the Paris climate change agreement.
Trump’s paranoia had clearly peaked as approximately 190 other countries were taking part in the agreement. The only three on the ‘no’ list was the United States; Nicaragua, which said the agreement didn’t go far enough and Syria, who were in the middle of a civil war.
He took credit for building the Panama Canal that was built 100 years ago
The former-President appeared to take credit for the Panama Canal. In a meeting with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, Trump said, “The Panama Canal is doing quite well. I think we did a good job building it, right — a very good job.”
Varela responded, “Yeah, about 100 years ago.”
While Trump could have been saying ‘we’ as in the ‘United States’, there’s an ongoing motif of the 45th President clinging on to past accomplishments that he had no involvement in.
Starting a feud against a civil rights hero on Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Trump clearly picks his timings well. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January, Trump bashed civil rights hero John Lewis after learning that he was planning on boycotting his inauguration.
We’d love to know the thought process (if any) behind publicly attacking a civil rights hero on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.