“Remember the Soviet Union, formerly? Remember the Soviet Union, when it was all together? Before they decided, we got to call ourselves Russia. When it was all together, they wanted to be, it was always their dream to be the biggest in the world. Then it became Russia”, Trump said during his speech at the rally in Cincinnati on 1 August.
The comment was made in relation to America’s success in boosting its energy sector, with the president stating that the US is “now the biggest energy producer in the entire world, bigger than the Soviet Union”. Trump nevertheless admitted that Russia and Saudi Arabia “have done a good job with energy”.
Twitter users did not miss the opportunity to pick up on Trump’s peculiar interpretation of history and geography, suggesting that it was really “interesting” and “sophisticated”.
Trump offers an interesting historical interpretation of the fall of the Soviet Union: "Remember the Soviet Union? When it was all together. Before they decided, 'we have to call ourselves Russia.'" pic.twitter.com/Y5d0NJ8mhE— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 2, 2019
You've got to be kidding me. Trump thinks that the Soviet Union was simply "Russia, when it was all together. Before they decided, 'We have to call ourselves Russia.'" Is he not aware that the USSR consisted of 15 republics? Rhetorical question, of course.https://t.co/ZfjjWg2taF— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) August 2, 2019
gotta be honest: trump's interpretation of the fall of the soviet union is both more interesting and more sophisticated than the typical IR explanation pic.twitter.com/qUWEEOn0FF— Aisling McCrea (@ambientGillian) August 2, 2019
This is not the first time that the US president has suggested his own interpretation of the fall of the Soviet Union, which was succeeded by 15 independent states after its collapse in 1991.
During a Cabinet meeting in January 2019, Trump stated that “Russia used to be the Soviet Union. Afghanistan made it Russia, because they went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan, Russia. They went into being called Russia again, as opposed to the Soviet Union”.
However, Donald Trump has made some bizarre comments before, not only about Russian history, but also in relation to his own country, including the Civil War. For example, during an interview with SiriusXM, Trump said that the Civil War of 1861 could have been avoided if Andrew Jackson, who was “really angry” about the war, was still the president – although he died in 1845. Once he also suggested that Canada burned down the White House, referring to the War of 1812.
He is not the only American president to flaunt his oratory skills at the expense of his knowledge in history and geography - with, for example, George W. Bush famously claiming in 2001 that “Africa is a nation that suffers from incredible disease".
Trump’s presidential campaign rally in Cincinnati is one of a series of events conducted as part of his 2020 re-election campaign. The next rally is scheduled to be held in Manchester, New Hampshire on 15 August.