June 13, 2020

Does Donald Trump think it “questionable” for Abraham Lincoln to have freed the slaves? Or that it was “questionable” to fight the Civil War?

During his interview with Fox News’ Harris Faulkner that aired Friday, there was this eye-opening exchange:

TRUMP: I think I’ve done more for the Black community than any other President and let’s take a pass on Abraham Lincoln ‘cause he did good, although it’s always questionable, you know, in other words, the end result.

FAULKNER: Well, we are free, Mr. President.

TRUMP: But we are free. You understand what I mean.

FAULKNER (laughing): Yeah. No, I get it.

I’d love to know what she “got” from those remarks because it seems like most people responding to the tweet with that clip made the very reasonable conclusion that Trump was saying that the Civil War and/or the freeing of the slaves was “always questionable.”

Slate’s Jeremy Stahl had a different, far more charitable interpretation:

I would never definitively state that I believed Trump didn’t mean the most racist possible interpretation of one of his often hard-to-grasp word salads. Indeed, he has in the past questioned the fact that the Civil War needed to occur...


Trump was likely attempting to say that while “I think I’ve done more for the black community than any other president,” he would ask that in such a ranking “let’s take a pass” on including Lincoln, because it’s an unfair comparison, but—even if he were to go head-to-head with Lincoln for the title of “best president for black people ever”—despite the fact that Lincoln “did good,” it would still be “always questionable” whether Trump was better, because you have to consider “the end result” of each man’s presidency.

I watched before and after the interview, to get the full context. Trump continued his remarks by going into detail about all he’s done for African Americans. So clearly that was his intended message.

But me? I think he meant what he said, Freudian slip or not.

Can you help us out?

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