President Donald Trump asserted last week that the Panama Canal, which opened in 1914, is “doing quite well” and that the U.S. “did a good job building it.”
Trump made the comment in the Oval Office, where he was sitting for a brief media availability alongside Juan Carlos Varela, the president of Panama who is in Washington for a visit.
“It’s our great honor to have President and Mrs. Varela from Panama,” Trump told reporters. “We have many things to discuss. We’re going to spend quite a bit of time today. The Panama Canal is doing quite well, I think we did a good job building it.”
“Right?” Trump said, turning to Varela. “Very good job.”
The Panama Canal, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, was constructed by the U.S. from 1904 to 1914, after the French stopped its work on the project.
This may seem like a small thing by itself, but it was a stark reminder to the world that Donald Trump has little knowledge of history, yet alone world politics and U.S. relations with foreign governments. There has never, in the history of the United States, been such an ill-prepared individual at the top of our government and the world has surely taken notice.