President Donald Trump gave a long, rambling interview to the New York Times on Wednesday in which he mangled facts about French history.
Reflecting on his time in France earlier this month, the president talked about the downfall of Napoleon and showed a high level of historical illiteracy.
“Napoleon finished a little bit bad,” the president began. “His one problem is he didn’t go to Russia that night because he had extracurricular activities, and they froze to death. How many times has Russia been saved by the weather?”
Trump then reflected that Hitler made the same mistake in his decision to wage war in Russia during the winter.
“Same thing happened to Hitler,” he said. “Not for that reason, though. Hitler wanted to consolidate. He was all set to walk in. But he wanted to consolidate, and it went and dropped to 35 degrees below zero, and that was the end of that army.”
As MSNBC host Joe Scarborough pointed out, the German army didn’t instantly freeze to death upon entering Russia in the winter, as “the Battle of Stalingrad itself was six months long.”
"It dropped to 35 below and that was the end of that army."
The Battle of Stalingrad itself was six months long. https://t.co/XHp0hCVO86
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) July 20, 2017
Trump finished up his reflections on history by talking how tough Russian soldiers are in the cold before pivoting to talking about the economy.
“But the Russians have great fighters in the cold,” he said. “They use the cold to their advantage. I mean, they’ve won five wars where the armies that went against them froze to death. It’s pretty amazing. So, we’re having a good time. The economy is doing great.”