Trump spurs outrage, mockery with Civil War comments

President Trump on Monday spurred outrage and mockery by questioning why the Civil War happened and suggesting that President Andrew Jackson could have prevented it.

Democrats and political pundits ripped Trump for his comments, published Monday in the Washington Examiner, and advised him to brush up on his history.

"President Trump doesn't understand why there was a Civil war," tweeted Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.).

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"It's because my ancestors and millions of others were enslaved."

Chelsea Clinton also had a simple response for why the Civil War happened.

"1 word answer: Slavery," she tweeted.

"Longer: When Andrew Jackson died in 1845 (16 years before the Civil War began), he owned 150 men, women and children."

"UMMM... SLAVERY. The thing southern states were most concerned about in 1861 was the right to perpetuate slavery," tweeted Symone D. Sanders, a former top spokeswoman for Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSchumer: Franken should resign Franken resignation could upend Minnesota races Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE (I-Vt.).

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) called the president's comments "an unfortunate remark."

"I mean, this is American history, and the president is questioning that," he said in an interview on CNN.

"I mean, the whole issue of land and slavery and sovereignty, it's clear. So I don't know why the president gets into these messes that he doesn't need to."

Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) chimed in as well. 

The president made the comments during an interview with the Washington Examiner's Salena Zito, in which he compared his presidential campaign to Jackson's.

"I mean had Andrew Jackson been a little bit later you wouldn't have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart," Trump said during the interview.

"He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War, he said, 'There's no reason for this.'"

Jackson, the nation's seventh president, died in 1845. The Civil War began in 1861.

In the interview, the president further questioned why the country could not have solved the Civil War.

"People don't realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why?" Trump said during the interview, which also aired on SiriusXM's "Main Street Meets the Beltway." 

"People don't ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?"

Some journalists mocked the president, questioning his knowledge of history and criticizing him for claiming no one ever asks why the Civil War began.

The president has in the past praised Jackson. Ahead of a rally earlier this year, Trump compared his presidency to that of Jackson while marking the birthday of the nation's seventh president.

Trump referred to Jackson as the people's president.

"It was during the revolution that Jackson first confronted and defied an arrogant elite. Does that sound familiar?" the president said ahead of a rally he held earlier this year in Tennessee.

Shortly after being sworn in as president, Trump hung a portrait of Jackson in the Oval Office as an apparent nod to the populist sentiments of his administration.