[Ads-l] slander

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Nov 26 14:30:04 UTC 2015

> On Nov 26, 2015, at 8:23 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 'To exploit cynically in words; insult through verbal cynicism.'
> Probably another ex. of the best word that would fit into a headline.
> Since the plaque claims to honor soldiers, it can't be "slanderous":
> Trump's Lies Slander Civil War Dead
> ...The New York Times reports that the outspoken Republican candidate’s
> golf course on Lowes Island, along the Potomac River in Virginia includes a
> historical marker that notes the following: “Many great American soldiers,
> both of the North and South, died
> at this spot ... The casualties were so great that the water turned red and
> thus became known as ‘The River of Blood.’” No date is given on the marker
> as to when this engagement took place. No military units or commanding
> officers are identified because, according to local historians, there is no
> evidence that anyone was killed in military combat at this spot during the
> Civil War.
The story I found online--at 
--does not contain a headline accusing Trump of slandering anyone, only of "dressing up history", but it does suggest an interesting take on the nature of historical research:

In a phone interview, Mr. Trump called himself a “a big history fan” but deflected, played down and then simply disputed the local historians’ assertions of historical fact.
“That was a prime site for river crossings,” Mr. 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.”  The club does indeed lie a stone’s throw from Rowser’s Ford, where, as an official historical marker notes, Gen. J. E. B. Stuart led 5,000 Confederate troops including cavalry across the Potomac en route to the Battle of Gettysburg.
Between the 14th hole and the 15th tee of one of the club’s two courses, Mr. Trump installed a flagpole on a stone pedestal overlooking the Potomac, to which he affixed a plaque purportedly marking “The River of Blood."
But no one died in that crossing, historians said, or in any other notable Civil War engagement on the spot.

“How would they know that?” Mr. Trump asked when told that local historians had called his plaque a fiction. “Were they there?”

Mr. Trump repeatedly said that “numerous historians” had told him that the golf club site was known as the River of Blood. But he said he did not remember their names.

Presumably those "numerous historians" *were* there during the deadly crossing.  After all, Trump has assured us that thousands of Arab-Americans were cheering in New Jersey as the towers came down, even though there is no other testimony or photographic evidence to support this claim.  But he was there.  


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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