Trump To Honor Andrew Jackson In Nashville
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
When President Trump visits Nashville, Tenn., today, he'll drop by its most famous home. President Andrew Jackson lived and died at The Hermitage.
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
On Jackson's 250th birthday, President Trump will lay a wreath on the seventh president's grave there. Jackson is also on the Oval Office wall thanks to Trump. The new president showed off his portraits in an ABC interview.
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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, who a lot of people, they compare the campaign of Trump with the campaign of - you have to go back to 1828. But that seems to be a comparison for, you know, certain obvious reasons.
ANN TOPLOVICH: Andrew Jackson, in his day, was seen as disrupting the old political order, which is, of course, something that Trump has attempted to embrace.
MARTIN: And that was the voice of Ann Toplovich of the Tennessee Historical Society, giving one of the reasons. In 1828, Andrew Jackson campaigned against the national elite, though he was a member of the elite himself.
INSKEEP: You can tell that by his mansion in Nashville, with its columns on the huge front porch. Howard Kittell heads the Andrew Jackson Foundation, meaning he's the guy with the key to the door at The Hermitage.
HOWARD KITTELL: Jackson was an outsider from the standpoint that he was the first Westerner to be elected president.
INSKEEP: The first Westerner. Tennessee was part of the West in the early 1800s. It was the frontier.
MARTIN: Historians have mixed views about comparing Jackson and Trump. They note that Jackson was a war hero with decades of government experience before he ran. Trump had no government experience.
INSKEEP: Being compared to Jackson is not always flattering, which is why the Obama administration made plans to move him to the back of the $20 bill. Before leaving The Hermitage to assume the presidency in 1829, Jackson made an inventory of his slaves. And Howard Kittell says The Hermitage exhibits now show Jackson's role in taking the land of Indians.
KITTELL: Yeah. He's a complicated guy. He's a troubling guy, Andrew Jackson. But there are good parts that need to be studied and considered as well.
INSKEEP: What appeals to Trump fans is that Jackson smashed institutions he considered corrupt, like a national bank. He also kept the Union from cracking up in the decades before the Civil War. A generation or so later, when Abraham Lincoln began freeing slaves during that Civil War, he had a portrait of Andrew Jackson on his wall.
(SOUNDBITE OF ISREAL NASH GRIPKA'S, "WHO IN TIME") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.