WASHINGTON — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been getting flak for some fact-free statements lately, and the latest appears to be one that he made without opening his mouth.
On the Trump National Golf Course, on Lowes Island in Sterling, Virginia, a marker near the 15th tee commemorates the Civil War historical significance of the spot, The New York Times reports.
“Many great American soldiers, both of the North and South, died at this spot,” the inscription reads. “The casualties were so great that the water would turn red and thus became known as ‘The River of Blood.’”
Not so much, local historians say.
“No. Uh-uh. No way. Nothing like that ever happened there,” Richard Gillespie, the executive director of the Mosby Heritage Area Association, tells The Times. Alana Blumenthal, the curator of the Loudoun Museum, in Leesburg, says the same thing. A third historian says he wrote to the Trump organization to correct the record, but didn’t give his name, not wanting to upset the Trump group.
Contacted by The Times, Trump’s argument was a bit less certain than the plaque. “That 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.” Told of the historians who disproved his assertion, Trump replied, “How would they know that? Were they there?”
The Times says that Trump told them “numerous historians” told him the spot’s history jibed with his version. He later said they had talked to “my people.” In neither case did he give any names.
Finally, he told the Times reporter, “Write your story the way you want to write it. You don’t have to talk to anybody. It doesn’t make any difference. But many people were shot. It makes sense.”