President Trump launched into an unusual story about two of his predecessors — former President Abraham Lincoln and former President and Union General Ulysses S. Grant.
Trump said that Lincoln had developed a “phobia” about beating Confederate General Robert E. Lee, whom Trump called a “great general,” and that Lincoln sought out Grant, who was born in Ohio, to defeat Lee.
Trump also referenced Grant’s alleged drinking problem. He added that Grant is “finally being recognized as a great general.”
Here’s what Trump told the crowd in Ohio:
“It also gave you a general who was incredible. He drank a little bit too much. You know who I’m talking about right? So Robert E. Lee was a great general. And Abraham Lincoln developed a phobia. He couldn’t beat Robert E. Lee.
He was going crazy. I don’t know if you know this story. But Robert E. Lee was winning battle after battle after battle. And Abraham Lincoln came home, he said, ‘I can’t beat Robert E. Lee.’ And he had all of his generals, they looked great, they were the top of their class at West Point. They were 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.
And one day, it was looking really bad. And Lincoln just said, ‘You,’ hardly knew his name. And they said, ‘Don’t take him, he’s got a drinking problem.’ And Lincoln said, ‘I don’t care what problem he has. You guys aren’t winning.’
And his name was Grant. General Grant. And he went in and he knocked the hell out of everyone. And you know the story. They said to Lincoln, ‘You can’t use him anymore, he’s an alcoholic.’ And Lincoln said, ‘I don’t care if he’s an alcoholic, frankly, give me six or seven more just like him.’ He started to win. Grant really did — he had a serious problem, a serious drinking problem, but man was he a good general. And he’s finally being recognized as a great general.
But Lincoln had almost developed a phobia, because he was having a hard time with a true great fighter, a great general Robert E. Lee. But Grant figured it out. And Grant is a great general, and Grant came from right here.”