Trump Calls Robert E. Lee ‘Great’ at Ohio Rally

At a rally in Ohio Friday night, President Trump claimed President Abraham Lincoln had a “phobia” because he kept losing to the Robert E. Lee during the Civil War. “Robert E. Lee was a great general and Abraham Lincoln developed a phobia. He couldn’t beat Robert E. Lee. He was going crazy,” Trump said. “But Robert E. Lee was winning battle after battle after battle, and Abraham Lincoln came home and said ‘I can’t beat Robert E. Lee.’” Trump continued, describing Union commanders as being “the greatest people.” “There’s only one problem: They didn’t know how the hell to win. They didn’t know how to fight. They didn’t know how,” he said. It wasn’t until Lincoln selected Ulysses S. Grant, who Trump described as someone who “drank a little bit too much” but was “incredible” that the tide turned. While Lee is largely credited in leading Confederate forces to victories due to his tactical skills, he surrendered to Union Commander Ulysses S. Grant in April 1865. The Civil War ended a month later.

UPDATE Oct. 13, 2018, 10:27 p.m. ET: President Trump was speaking about Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, not Gen. Robert E. Lee, when he said “a general who is incredible.”