Former President Donald Trump told the authors of a new book that he believes he would have had a good chance of winning a presidential election against George Washington, even with Abraham Lincoln as Washington’s running mate.
Trump made the outlandish observation as he indicated that his re-election in 2020 was inevitable had it not been for the COVID-19 pandemic — which appears to contradict his comments about a “rigged” election.
“I think it would be hard if George Washington came back from the dead and he chose Abraham Lincoln as his vice-president, I think it would have been very hard for them to beat me,” Trump told Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig, they recount in their new book “I Alone Can Fix It.”
The twice-impeached former president was recently ranked nearly at the bottom of the pack of America’s presidents — 41st — in a survey of historians across the nation. Abraham Lincoln ranked first, and Washington came in second.
Trump’s favorability polls while he was in office were lackluster at best. His full four-year average of approval in Gallup polls was 41% — four points lower than any other president since polling began, NPR noted.
A Guardian review of the book on Saturday, which included the excerpt about Trump imagining a race against Washington, noted that Trump’s “hubris shines through,” and described his claims about besting Washington “surreal.”
Trump made similar remarks a year ago.
“George Washington would have had a hard time beating me before the plague came in, before the China plague,” Trump told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, using the racist term for COVID-19. “And then, you know, like every other nation ... when you get hit, it affects you, and we went down a little bit. And then we went down a little bit more, and now we’re coming up at a level that we haven’t seen.”
He insisted: “I was sailing. I mean we were going, we were going very good. It was really looking good, and then we got hit by the plague. And now, people are respecting the way we’ve handled that.”
Trump has confidently compared himself to Lincoln in the past, as well.
“Nobody has done more for the Black community than Donald Trump ... with the exception of Abraham Lincoln,” he declared while debating Joe Biden during their presidential campaigns. Biden had just called Trump America’s first racist president.
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.