Former President Donald Trump was a massive proponent of education that taught students to unquestioningly adore the United States, even at the expense of accuracy and academic engagement.
Trump repeatedly disparaged histories like the 1619 Project and helped accelerate Republican hysteria and disinformation regarding Critical Race Theory. He established the 1776 Commission to promote so-called patriotic education.
Consistent with this message of unquestioning praise amounting to an adequate education, Trump has railed against the removal of statues lionizing confederate leaders and slave-owning revolutionaries.
Such was the case after New York's Public Design Commission voted to remove a statue of Thomas Jefferson from its display in City Hall. Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, is one of many historical figures whose legacy has been reevaluated over decades. Jefferson enslaved around 600 people in his lifetime. He repeatedly raped Sally Hemings, one of his slaves, beginning when he was in his 40s and Hemings was a young teenager.
With Jefferson's statue removed from City Hall, it's unclear where the final resting place of the statue will be. Some have proposed venues like the New York Historical Society that could accompany its display with information acknowledging the complexities of Jefferson's life and the atrocities he committed.
For his part, Trump issued a hamhanded statement decrying the removal as an assault on history—history of which he demonstrated his own ignorance in the statement itself.
"The late, great Thomas Jefferson, one of our most important founding Fathers and a principal writer of the constitution of the United States, is being 'evicted' from the magnificent New York City Council Chamber."
There's just one problem: Jefferson didn't have a role in writing the U.S. Constitution. Though he wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1776, Jefferson was serving as a diplomat in France from 1784 to 1789, when the Constitution was being written and ratified in the United States until 1788.
Historians like Kevin M. Levin, as well as people with a basic grasp of U.S. history, were quick to point this out.
It's difficult to argue that removing a statue of a historical figure erases history when you can't even get the ba… https://t.co/gZdi1GvjdD— Kevin M. Levin (@Kevin M. Levin) 1634678699.0
@realLizUSA Jefferson is credited with being a principal author of the Declaration of Independence. He wasn't even… https://t.co/6pR3BHRc5E— Pé (@Pé) 1634675961.0
@realLizUSA Jefferson was in Paris during the Constitutional Convention.— Joey Hannah (@Joey Hannah) 1634682592.0
Has Trump not seen Hamilton?
@KevinLevin @MalcolmNance I know that just from watching Hamilton.— Lucy Carter (@Lucy Carter) 1634687877.0
@realLizUSA Maybe go and see @HamiltonMusical and learn a few things.— Deebeezie ✊🏽 (@Deebeezie ✊🏽) 1634680989.0
People proceeded to mock Trump's argument.
@realLizUSA Apparently statues aren’t as essential to learning about history as we were led to believe— Michael P Breen (@Michael P Breen) 1634678674.0
@realLizUSA I like revisionist history. Always felt Montpelier was overrated— Phil S (@Phil S) 1634687365.0