Everything is so stupid. It’s exhausting. Not only is Trump launching a pointless trade war against our three closest allies and four largest trading partners, but now apparently he’s lecturing heads of state on history that never happened. Per CNN:
President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had a testy phone call on May 25 over new tariffs imposed by the Trump administration targeting steel and aluminum imports coming from Canada, including one moment during the conversation in which Trump made an erroneous historical reference, sources familiar with the discussion told CNN.
According to the sources, Trudeau pressed Trump on how he could justify the tariffs as a “national security” issue. In response, Trump quipped to Trudeau, “Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?” referring to the War of 1812.
When asked if the comment was received as a joke, one source on the call said: “To the degree one can ever take what is said as a joke. The impact on Canada and ultimately on workers in the US won’t be a laughing matter.”*
This is elementary school history, and we can now confirm what we all knew already: Trump would get waxed on Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?. America fought the war of 1812 against Britain, not the non-existent country of Canada at that point. Canada gained its independence from the United Kingdom on July 1st, 1867.
Now, to be fair to Trump, the British attack on the White House was in retaliation for our attack on York, Ontario (a British colony at the time), but that’s pretty much the only way that Canada is connected to this infamous act. To give Trump the full benefit of the doubt on this, it would require him to know enough about history to know the pretext of the burning of the White House, but not the actual action itself. Given that Trump doesn’t even know the words to God Bless America, I think it’s safe to say that this line was exactly as dumb and ill-informed as it sounds*.
*There’s also the real possibility that this is a made-up quote from a pissed off Canadian source and we’re all falling victim to yet another entirely believable, yet nonexistent act of Trump stupidity. Covering this man in real-time is a herculean task that no one has really figured out yet.
Canada set a deadline of July 1st for us to lift our moronic tariffs before they respond with theirs, and make this trade war amongst allies official. If Trump really is accusing them of historical crimes they didn’t even have the ability to commit, I don’t have much hope that we will avoid the certain economic catastrophe that we’re barreling towards next month.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.