The winding down of President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office, a milestone he will reach on Saturday, has provided an occasion for observers to dissect how his presidency compares to past administrations so far. Though the history of his own administration is just beginning to be written, the President — though he has said that he does not read a lot of history books — has frequently turned to just that type of historical comparison, too.
Here’s a sampling from the history of the United States as described by President Trump:
Thomas Jefferson: Trump has turned to the Founding Father to support arguments in favor of rolling back limits on political activity by religious groups and to make a point about the media.
“It was the great Thomas Jefferson who said, “The God who gave us life, gave us liberty.” Jefferson asked, “Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?” Among those freedoms is the right to worship according to our own beliefs. That is why I will get rid of, and totally destroy, the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution.” (Feb. 2, 2017)
“Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln, and many of our greatest Presidents, fought with the media and called them out, oftentimes on their lies. When the media lies to people, I will never, ever, let them get away with it. I will do whatever I can that they don’t get away with it. They have their own agenda, and their agenda is not your agenda. In fact, Thomas Jefferson said, ‘Nothing can [now] be believed which is seen in a newspaper.’ ‘Truth itself,’ he said, ‘becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.’ That was June 14, my birthday—1807.” (Feb. 18, 2017)
Andrew Jackson: One of the President’s favorite historical figures, Jackson has been referenced frequently — and Trump chose that predecessor’s portrait for the Oval Office.
“[Jackson] was one of our great Presidents…Today, the portrait of this orphan son who rose to the Presidency hangs proudly in the Oval Office, opposite the portrait of another great American, Thomas Jefferson. I brought the Andrew Jackson portrait there. Right behind me, right—boom—over my left shoulder…We must all remember Jackson’s words: that in ‘the planter, the farmer, the mechanic, and the laborer,’ we will find muscle and bone of our country. So true. So true.” (Mar. 15, 2017)
Henry Clay: The President has used Clay as an example of the long history of politicians trying to protect American industry. “Clay was a fierce advocate for American manufacturing. He wanted it badly, he said, very strongly, free trade,” Trump noted. “He knew all the way back, early 1800s, Clay said that trade must be fair,…