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The Guardians of Democracy

Donald Trump’s Virginia Golf Course ‘River of Blood’ Plaque Honors A Fake Civil War Battle


Donald Trump’s Virginia Golf Course ‘River of Blood’ Plaque Honors A Fake Civil War Battle

In 2015, The New York Times published an article headlined “In Renovation of Golf Club, Donald Trump Also Dressed Up History,” in which historians disputed the veracity of a plaque featured at Donald Trump’s Northern Virginia Trump National Golf Club.

The report about the factually inaccurate plaque has resurfaced this week in light of the president’s controversial remarks about the violent weekend in Charlottesville – and his tweets on Thursday calling for the preservation of the “beautiful” Confederate statues.

The plaque, which is attached to a flagpole on a stone pedestal that overlooks the Potomac river, reads:  “Many great American soldiers, both of the North and South, died at this spot. The casualties were so great that the water would turn red and thus became known as ‘The River of Blood.’ It is my great honor to have preserved this important section of the Potomac River!”

The plaque, which designates a portion of the Potomac as “The River of Blood,” also features Trump’s family crest under the inscription, along with Trump’s full name.

Three historians interviewed for the 2015 Times story confirmed that no such battle or designation has ever been given to that section of the river.

“No. Uh-uh. No way. Nothing like that ever happened there,” Richard Gillespie, the executive director of the Mosby Heritage Area Association, told the Times. “The only thing that was remotely close to that” was something that took place 11 miles up the river. The conflict there was known as the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, took place in 1861 and involved several hundred deaths on the Union side.

“The River of Blood?” Gillespie said. “Nope, not there.”

A defiant Trump told the Times that the area was “a prime site for river crossings. So if people are crossing the river, and you happen to be in a civil war, I would say that people were shot – a lot of them.”

Trump, who told the Times that he was a big history fan,” challenged the historians’ conclusion: “How would they know that? Were they there?”

Trump said he did fact check the validity of the plaque with “numerous historians” but couldn’t remember their names.

“Write your story the way you want to write it,” Trump told the Times after the reporter continued to challenge his claims. “You don’t have to talk to anybody. It doesn’t make any difference. But many people were shot. It makes sense.”


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