On Thursday, Donald Trump used Twitter to lament his disdain for the removal of Confederate monuments across the country. According to Trump, it is “sad” that “history and culture” are being ripped apart with the removal of the disputed and divisive monuments. The POTUS went on to explain that you “can’t change history,” and wondered if statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson may be next on the list of American monuments to be forcibly removed from their bases and relegated to the dark basement of history.
The widespread removal of Confederate monuments seems to be moving ahead more rapidly than ever before following last weekend’s deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The controversial gathering of alt-right supporters, KKK members, neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and white supremacists resulted in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was protesting against the sentiments of the rally. Trump was slow to remark on the tragedy, and initially took to Twitter to lay the blame for Heyer’s death on the shoulders of “both sides” of the event, decrying “all that hate stands for” rather than condemning white nationalism outright.
In the aftermath of last weekend’s brutality, which stemmed from a rally dedicated to “protecting” a statue of Robert E. Lee, the city of Baltimore quietly removed four Confederate statues from within its limits overnight. As the New York Times reports, the mayor made the decision following a wide vote and “in the best interests of my city.”
Mayors and citizens from several other U.S. cities are planning similar actions, and members of the U.S. Congress have now called for Confederate statues to be removed from the nation’s capital.
Many Americans have grown frustrated and even irate over Trump’s decision to decry the removal of Confederate monuments while refusing to singularly condemn white supremacy in the country, and in the wake of the scandal, old news regarding Donald Trump’s golf course decor has resurfaced.
As Rolling Stone reports, Trump came under fire in 2015 when it became public knowledge that his Northern Virginia Trump National Golf Club was flouting a monument (completed with plaque) memorializing a Civil War battle that never happened. Ironically, both Trump’s golf course and the Charlottesville tragedy occurred within the the borders of the same Southern U.S. state.
The Civil War battle monument in question is reportedly situated between the 14th hole and the 15th tee of one of Trump’s Northern Virginia Trump National Golf Club’s two golf courses. The plaque on the monument plays specific homage to a battle that allegedly took place on “The River of Blood,” or a portion of the Potomac River on which the fake battle occurred.
The plaque includes an inscription describing the fake battle, along with the Trump family crest and the full name of Donald Trump and the self-proclaimed “honor” of preserving the site of the made-up battle.
“Many great American soldiers, both of the North and South, died at this spot. The casualties were so great that the water would turn red and thus became known as ‘The River of Blood.’ It is my great honor to have preserved this important section of the Potomac River!”
At least three historians blasted Trump and his fake battle monument back in 2015, stating unequivocally and for the record that no such battle ever happened anywhere close to Trump’s golf course. Nor was that section of the Potomac ever designated “The River of Blood.”
According to the Mosby Heritage Area Association executive director, the closest battle to the 14th hole of the Trump golf club took place 11 miles away, and it didn’t result in the river (or any part of it) being called “The River of Blood.”
“No. Uh-uh. No way. Nothing like that ever happened there. The only thing that was remotely close to that” was something that took place 11 miles up the river. The conflict there was known as the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, took place in 1861 and involved several hundred deaths on the Union side.”
Despite the fact that multiple historians called out the memorial plaque as homage to a fake Civil War battle, Trump stood by his story that the memorial was accurate, adding that he was certain that the river abutting his golf course had been a “prime site for river crossings.”
“So if people are crossing the river, and you happen to be in a civil war, I would say that people were shot – a lot of them.”
Historians do concede that the Potomac River near the Trump golf course was indeed the site of Civil War crossings. However, they insist that nobody is known to have died at or near the site of the fake memorial, nor even at any “notable battle” in the general area.
Still, when the news broke in 2015 that his golf course monument to the Civil War was a fake one, Trump continued to argue its veracity and even challenge the knowledge of renowned scholars and historians who dared challenge the narrative engraved on the monument’s plaque.
“How would they know that? Were they there?”
Despite being adamant that his golf course Civil War battle monument was a legitimate one with ties to recorded American history, Trump was not able to name any of the historians he claimed had advised him that the area between the 14th and 15th holes of his course was a historical site called “The River of Blood.”
[Featured Image by Ben Nuckols/AP Images]