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Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017 04:57 pm

Trump explains Lincoln

Next month Springfield will mark the 208th anniversary of te birth of Abraham Lincoln. The city is familiar by now with the tributes that national and international Somebodies pay to our best citizen. Thanks to Nancy LeTorneau at the Washington Monthly, I can share with you the views of our departing president and of his successor in office.

The first is from Barack Obama, written on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.

Always thoughtful, always eloquent, Lincoln’s writings speak to me as they speak to so many Americans, reminding us what is best about ourselves and the Union he saved: that though we may have our differences, we are one people, and we are one nation, united by a common creed…

…Lincoln termed the United States, in one of his early messages to Congress, “the last best hope of earth.” Considering that our fragile Union was not 100 years old and stood a good chance of dissolving, it was an improbable thing to say. But Lincoln saw beyond the bloodshed and division. He saw us not only as we were, but as we might be. And he calls on us through the ages to commit ourselves to the unfinished work he so nobly advanced—the work of perfecting our Union.

And this from Donald Trump, in a 2016 interview with Bob Woodward, who asked him to explain Lincoln's success.

Well, I think Lincoln succeeded for numerous reasons. He was a man who was of great intelligence, which most presidents would be. But he was a man of great intelligence, but he was also a man that did something that was a very vital thing to do at that time. Ten years before or 20 years before, what he was doing would never have even been thought possible. So he did something that was a very important thing to do, and especially at that time.

Mr. Trump will be taking Mr. Obama's office, but he will not be taking his place.


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