Nov 28th, 2015
Trump plays fast and loose
With golf course history
Words: The Brigadier
When Donald Trump bought a golf club on Lowes Island for $13 million in 2009, he spent millions more in reconfiguring its two courses. He then angered conservationists by chopping down more than 400 trees to open up views of the Potomac River. And then he renamed the course after himself, of course!
Trump then decided that the course’s history needed a bit of an upgrade as well.
Between the 14th hole and the 15th tee of one of the club's two courses, Trump installed a flagpole on a stone pedestal overlooking the Potomac, to which he affixed a plaque purportedly designating "The River of Blood."
"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.'"
The inscription, above Trump's full name, concludes: "It is my great honor to have preserved this important section of the Potomac River!"
But it turns out there was no truth to these claims.
"No. Uh-uh. No way. Nothing like that ever happened there," said Richard Gillespie, executive director of the Mosby Heritage Area Association, a historical preservation group devoted to an 1,800-square-mile section of the Northern Virginia Piedmont, including the Lowes Island site.
"The only thing that was remotely close to that," Gillespie said, was 11 miles up the river at the Battle of Ball's Bluff in 1861, a rout of Union forces in which several hundred were killed. "The River of Blood?" he added. "Nope, not there."
"That was a prime site for river crossings," Trump said. "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."
"How would they know that?" Trump asked, when told that local historians had called his plaque a fiction. "Were they there?"
Trump repeatedly said that "numerous historians" had told him the golf club site was known as the River of Blood. But he said he did not remember their names.
So the Trump has been playing fast and loose again, and this time with history.