Republican Congressman Tom Cole is not impressed with President Trump’s recent embrace of Andrew Jackson, whose portrait proudly graces the Oval Office.

After alleging that Jackson was angry over a war which would not occur until 16 years after Jackson’s death, President Trump further opined:

“I said, ‘When was Andrew Jackson?’ It was 1828, that’s a long time ago, that was Andrew Jackson.

“I mean, had Andrew Jackson been a little later, you wouldn’t have had the Civil War. “He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart. He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War; he said, ‘There’s no reason for this.’”

It was a week when the president also ascribed positive attributes to a ruthless North Korean dictator and a murderous Philippine president, in addition to recent praise for Russian Vlademir Puten and Turkey’s increasingly autocratic ruler Erdogan.

Yet it was the Andrew Jackson reference that evoked the most visceral response from US Representative Tom Cole. It was not the fractured attempt at history that bothered Cole, but the fact of Donald Trump’s obsession with Andrew Jackson.

As a proud Chicasaw, my greatest offense is anything nice said about Andrew Jackson. That’s the one that concerns me the most. My great-grandfather was forcibly removed out of …

Had Cole been able to complete his thought without interruption by “Morning Joe” Scarborough, he undoubtedly would have referred to the treaties in which his ancestors were forced to give up all remaining lands in exchange for lands in present-day Oklahoma.

The lands were surveyed and quickly sold, with each adult Chickasaw receiving a temporary individual land allotment that was also sold, with all monies placed in a fund to cover the costs of removal.

It is not an accident that Tom Cole represents a district in Oklahoma –  the end-point of the infamous Trail of Tears.  The forced march from the eastern states which his great-grandfather somehow survived was the result of the Indian Removal Act initiated by Jackson, which Cole regards as our own country’s attempt at ethnic cleansing.

In a previous interview with Preservation Action, Rep. Cole explained:

I’m kind of an old historian.  I love it.  If you don’t understand the past, you can’t begin to understand the present or anticipate the future.  There are a lot of different ways to understand the past. … In my case, I’m Chickasaw.  We have a tribal historian.  We take stuff very seriously — everything from maintenance and language teaching.  And we have a hall of fame where people are honored. 

To President Trump the Jacksonian presidency was “a long time ago.” To the “proud Chickasaw” and member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Jackson’s Indian Removal Program is a perpetually fresh memory.

A former college instructor in history and politics, with a B.A. from Grinnell College, an M.A. from Yale University and a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma, and an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation, this Native American Congressman is not impressed with Andrew Jackson nor Donald Trump’s fake history.

See also: Donald Trump and Andrew Jackson

About Larry Eppley

Larry Eppley's background is diverse. A former pulpit minister, he was a real estate agent before spending about ten years as a computer software trainer and IT support specialist. Now retired, he teaches English as Second Language classes for Spanish speakers, as well as a weekly bilingual Bible class.


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