Opinion | Politics

Steve Russell: Talk to a Cherokee citizen about Andrew Jackson's 'big heart'

The Cherokee Removal Memorial Park in Tennessee marks one of the starting points of the Trail of Tears. Photo: J. Stephen Conn

President Donald Trump is really that obsessed with Andrew Jackson, going so far as to insist America's seventh commander-in-chief could have prevented the Civil War even though it happened long after he died. Then there's the fact that Jackson owned slaves, not to mention his forced removal of tribes from their homelands. Steve Russell, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, wonders how Trump's historical revisionism will play out on the global stage:
President Trump’s remarks about the Civil War astonished U.S. historians for his ignorance of the centrifugal forces tugging on the young nation and political scientists for his disrespect of the first Republican POTUS in the process of lionizing the first Democratic POTUS.

Some people do not make sense in partisan terms because they are independents. Trump makes no sense in partisan terms because he has no ideology. Of course, his knowledge of history is so sketchy that he may not have known the partisan implications of his remarks.

The Democratic-Republican Party of Thomas Jefferson was a clearer forebear of the Democrats of Andrew Jackson than the Whig Party that took power with the Indian fighter William Henry Harrison was of the Republicans of Abraham Lincoln. Andrew Jackson’s party may have had deeper political roots, but few historians would judge Jackson to be Lincoln’s better.

If he has a diplomatic bone in his body, I would caution President Trump to never, ever speak to a Cherokee about Andrew Jackson’s “big heart.” Jackson’s alleged “big heart” was, along with his superior negotiating skills, the reason Trump opined that if Jackson had been POTUS rather than Lincoln, there would have been no Civil War because Jackson “could work it out.”

Read More on the Story:
Steve Russell: Trump Plays Andrew Jackson; Practicing the Art of the Deal (Indian Country Media Network 5/6)

Also Today:
Trump called Andrew Jackson ‘a swashbuckler.’ The Cherokees called him ‘Indian killer.’ (The Washington Post 5/3)