The first time President Trump equated himself with Andrew Jackson, he was being interviewed by Sean Hannity immediately after the inauguration, mentioning the former president “who they say was the most like my campaign because it was a vicious campaign.”
Presumably, he was referring to the story published during the 1828 Presidential campaign by the Republican-leaning Daily National Journal endorsing John Quincy Adams, that Democrat Jackson had “fought a man, chased him away like a dog, and stolen his wife”. Jackson ultimately fought a duel over the story that insinuated that he had married his wife, Rachel before she was divorced (which was technically correct).
In actuality, Trump’s campaign, 188 years later, was marked by his own unjustified and vicious personal attacks on almost every other opponent.
The pronouncement by Trump’s adviser, Steve Bannon, lauding the new president’s inauguration speech as “Jacksonian” may have had a lasting and gratifying impression on President Trump. Bannon defined Trump’s inaugural speech as “an unvarnished declaration of the basic principles of his populist kind of nationalist movement… I don’t think we’ve had a speech like that since Andrew Jackson came to the White House.” Bannon then equated this populist nationalism to patriotism.
In what ways does Andrew Jackson represent the Trump administration?
Jackson was the first Democrat to run for U.S. President, establishing the Party. He was referred to by his adversaries as a “Jackass” and “Old Hickory” for his irascible personality. When he learned that Henry Clay, his campaign opponent for his second term, approved of the National Bank, Jackson took every effort to squash this federal department, earning a censure from Congress for using unconstitutional means. His policies were known to be motivated as much for personal vendettas as they were for nationalistic principles.
Jackson was ruthless in real estate, effectively stealing native Cherokee lands for his own profit. He mandated and managed the “Indian Removal Act”, which he signed in 1830, forcing native Americans to vacate their territories in Southeast U.S. states, resulting in the infamous Trail of Tears. Thousands died on their way to reservations in Oklahoma.
On May 1, 2017, a day that President Trump recently proclaimed as “Loyalty Day”, he invoked his role model again by asking Salena Zito of the Washington Examiner, “People don’t ask that question, but why was there a Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?” He added that “Jackson was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War, he said, ‘There’s no reason for this'”. This quote by Andrew Jackson cannot be verified as Old Hickory died more than 15 years before the Civil War began.
Out of 44 other U.S. Presidents, Donald Trump has chosen to hitch his wagon to one of the most controversial and contentious Democrats.