Commentators on Friday struggled to understand a comment made by President Donald Trump about Abraham Lincoln.
During a Fox News interview, Trump boasted that he had been better for Black Americans than any president in history. He then suggested that Lincoln’s legacy was “questionable.”
“I think I’ve done more for the black community than any other president, and let’s take a pass on Abraham Lincoln, because he did good — although it’s always questionable. You know, in other words, the end result –” the president said, before host Harris Faulkner cut him off.
“Well, we are free, Mr. President. He did pretty well,” Faulkner said.
“We are free,” Trump replied. “You understand what I mean.”
There’s a lot going on but I hope the president is soon asked what he means by this, because… https://t.co/gar6ubK5qW
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) June 12, 2020
Many people interpreted Trump as saying that it was questionable for Lincoln to have freed slaves.
Trump objectively thinks it’s questionable that Lincoln freed the slaves. https://t.co/iEL4OzYNQ2
— Markos Moulitsas (@markos) June 12, 2020
Trump just described the end result of freeing the slaves as “always questionable” https://t.co/rdHIjlRxAo
— Ari Hirsch (@AriHirsch1) June 12, 2020
Trump thinks freeing Black people was "questionable"?! He is all of America's hate manifested.
— Joel Pulliam (@joel_pulliam) June 12, 2020
Others, however, speculated that Trump was talking about Lincoln’s assassination:
Uh. What part does Trump find questionable about Lincoln’s legacy? Is he referring to his…. assassination?https://t.co/F3bWWMGWhK
— Sam Stein (@samstein) June 12, 2020
The most charitable read is that he’s talking about Lincoln’s assassination, but even then, I think Lincoln would have taken that bargain. Problem is, Trump knows nothing of sacrifice.
— Patrick Meyers (@m1ghtymouse7) June 12, 2020
"Questionable" is just Trump's idiotic reference to assassination, and it's not the most damning thing here. The real shocker is his "we are free" line, by which he means, "free of foreign rule"; Trump thinks Lincoln was a figure of the revolution, not civil war. Nailed-on.
— Choostas (@Choostas) June 12, 2020
Many people said there was no point in trying to understand Trump, claiming he didn’t even know what he was trying to say.
Astounding that Trump disses Abraham Lincoln, our greatest president & the greatest Republican. Mind-boggling that Trump says,"it's always questionable" whether Lincoln "did good" & whether "the end result" of what Lincoln did was good.
These words are high intellectual crimes
— Steven Greenhouse (@greenhousenyt) June 12, 2020
It truly makes my jaw drop that Trump is suggesting he might be considered to have done more for Black people as president than Lincoln.
— Daniel Summers, MD (@WFKARS) June 12, 2020
It’s a bad day dementia day for Trump.
— #AntiFascist (@ChrisInKansas) June 12, 2020
Lincoln is only questionable in Trump’s addled brain… https://t.co/xMCC65AzKF
— Pamela H (@autumnheart71) June 12, 2020
— 🐇 End the brain-damage & chaos: Vote #Biden2020 (@UTMBColorado) June 12, 2020
No point asking Trump "what he meant." He'll just go off on another incoherent rant. Do you ask a person having a psychotic episode "what he meant" by his word salad?
— WICKEDNESS IN HIGH PLACES: cowering in a bunker (@Sandwichman_eh) June 12, 2020
And the Trump campaign wants you to believe that Biden is the one who's a rambling, incoherent mess. https://t.co/Tn6a7IEwzr
— Levi Fishman (@levifishman) June 12, 2020