Trump’s History Lesson

Trump’s History Lesson

A President Who Tells It Like It Isn’t?

Arthur Solomon, Public Relations Consultant

Ever since I can remember I’ve been a history buff. As a young student, I read works by true historians, and those who wrote fictionalized history. I also learn about history by “sitting in” on lectures by teachers at military schools for advanced officers, college history teachers and listening to authors of history books being interviewed, all on C-Span, as well as veterans of recent wars telling about their experiences.

As a history buff, who at one time thought teaching history would be a fallback job (if my dream of becoming a journalist, which I realized before jumping to the PR side after several New York City papers I worked failed) I am not a fan of “historical” Broadway shows or movies, the most recent being the smash “Hamilton,” which seemingly will run for a period longer than the Hundred Years’ War.”

I worked on legitimate stage productions, as Broadway was called, for 10 years before being recruited by Burson-Marsteller, where for many years I supervised and played key roles in national and international sports and non-sports accounts and traveled worldwide with high government officials as a media advisor. I can appreciate the talent and artistry that goes into creating a Broadway show. What bothers me is that too many people believe what they see on the stage and the big screens are historically correct recreations and not just a work of fictionalized historical art. I call that the dumbing down of history. And the promoters of these entertainment vehicles are not eager to add the clarifying words “historical fiction” to their ads. Infrequently, weasel words like “based on” (which can refer to anything in the production) are used.

Ever since the Founding Fathers put ink to paper and accounts of the battles of the Revolutionary War have been accepted historical facts, few people have had the courage to speak out about the mistakes that Americans have been told about the founding of their country. As a result, Americans have been led to believe the volumes of “fake news” in our history books.

I waited a long time for a person who has the courage to admit that he is a “stable genius” to correct the errors in history books so that our children and future generations forever more will be taught the truth.

The United States is lucky enough to have such a person as president during these days of political unity, not seen since the “era of good feeling,” – 1817- 1825 – the period of harmony among Americans after the War of 1812, (during which Canadian troops did not torch the White House because there was no such country as Canada at the time, as Mr. Trump surely knows). That person is President Trump, and undoubtedly that’s why he mentioned the War of 1812 in his July 4 speech.

In his “the publics right to know” oration on July 4, Trump highlighted and declassified some information about the Revolutionary War that the Departments of Defense, CIA and FBI had fought to be kept confidential since our country decided that that the British monarch wasn’t kingly.

In his “Salute to America” speech, Trump took the wraps off George Washington’s Revolutionary War strategy that until a few days ago remained in the top secret military files, entirely redacted by unknown presidential lawyers.

Here are a few new facts we learned:

  • Trump praised the Americans’ military efforts in the war against Great Britain. “Our army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rockets’ red glare, it had nothing but victory,” he said. Who knew we had an air force at the time? Thank you, Mr. President.
  • President Trump also declassified anther bit of American history during his speech, when he told about the heretofore secret Revolutionary War battle at Fort McHenry. Until he set the record straight we believed what we learned in junior high school, because of lying historians, that the battle took place during the War of 1812. God bless you, Mr. Trump.

(But it’s not just the president, Broadway playwrights and Hollywood moguls who have distorted American history. So have the maestros of classical music. For decades July 4 concerts in the U.S. have featured the “1812 Overture,” written in 1880 by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky to accompany the fire works displays at celebratory concerts, even though the overture has nothing to do with America’s birthday. It was written to commemorate Russia’s successful defense against Napoleon’s army in 1812. Surely the president knows that.)

  • Did the first president of the United States actually cross the Delaware using cargo boats and ferries? Don’t believe it. The official Army reports on the crossing was designated “top secret” so other potential enemies at the time wouldn’t know that the crossing was accompanied by a powerful flotilla of stealth battleships and submarines?

Trump’s July 4 revelations weren’t the first time that the president cleared up historical history mistakes.  A few others:

  • The president knows that Andrew Jackson was mad about the Civil War and could have prevented it. The problem here, according to lying historians, is that Jackson didn’t even know about the war because he died in 1845, years before the war began in 1861. But will they correct their mistake? Don’t bet on it. (Didn’t those eggheads ever hear of contacting the dead during a séance?)
  • Trump has repeatedly said his Electoral College margin is “the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan.” It wasn’t, according to historians who say that only two presidents have received fewer than Trump’s 304 electoral votes since 1972, Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush. Everyone knows that history is written by the winner and Trump is the winner. The historians must correct the record.

Trump foes say that the next thing he might say is that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. Naw.

As Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway has acknowledged “We have alternative facts.” And Trump knows them all.

Despite the naysayers, there’s sufficient evidence to suggest that the president is correct. If there wasn’t, why would Sarah Huckabbe Sanders, Sean Spicer, Ms. Conway, and so many other Trump surrogates confirm that what ever the president says is truthful. You have to be a cynic to believe that they would lie. Wouldn’t you?

It came as no surprise to me that President Trump would be the person to have the gumption and integrity to go against what we were led to believe was historical accuracy about the founding of our country.

Just goes to show ya. You’re never too old to learn.

As for me, I’m not decided whether President Trump will be remembered by historians as “Mr. Tell It Like It Is,” or “Mr. Straight Talk.”

What does this column have to do with public relations? Everything. People in our business should not accept as fact that what ever our clients tell us is accurate. Check out facts before disseminating any information to the media; never accept what agency management says about how valuable you are and that “you’ll always have a job here” as a phrase that is written in stone. Chances are it’s the kin of “Fake News,” — a “False Statement.” It almost always is. And that’s historically correct.


The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com or artsolomon4pr@optimum.net.

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