Donald Trump, the War of 1812 and Halifax — here’s the connection
President’s comments show he ‘doesn’t know his history’ at
The man who helped burn down the White House, an event apparently top-of-mind for U.S. President Donald Trump, can be found in downtown Halifax.
British Army Maj.-gen. Robert Ross, originally from Northern Ireland, is most famous for his role in the Burning of Washington during the War of 1812.
The details might be foggy for Canadians who studied the war in middle school or remember the 200-year anniversary in 2012, but the military conflict was brought up on the world stage this week by Trump.
On Wednesday, CNN reported that Trump mentioned the attack during a May 25 conversation with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his decision to impose tariffs on metals imported from Canada, Mexico and the European Union. According to CNN’S sources, Trump asked Trudeau: “Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?” The CBC has confirmed the CNN report.
John Boileau, Halifax author and historian, would like to set Trump straight. “It was purely a British operation; any Canadians there just happened to be ones who had joined the British navy or the British army but didn’t even pass through Canada,” Boileau said in an interview Thursday. “So for President Trump to say, ‘Didn’t you guys burn the White House?’ He doesn’t know his history.”
It wasn’t until the end of the war, which lasted from 1812-14, that the British were really able to “go on the offensive.”
A plaque commemorating British Maj.-gen. Robert Ross by the front gates of the the Old Burying Ground on Barrington St., where Ross is buried. Ross is credited with setting fire to what is now the White House during the War of 1812.