President Donald Trump on Saturday remarked on Nike's "Breaking2" project, musing in a radio interview that President Andrew Jackson would have managed to run sub-2:00.
The comments came hours after the closely watched event, in which three elite runners set out to be the first to complete a marathon in less than two hours. Of the three, Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge came closest, running 2:00:25.
Jackson is a favorite of Mr. Trump, who has lauded the nation's seventh president on several occasions, including a recent suggestion that Jackson might have prevented the Civil War had he been around to do so. (He died 16 years before the war started.)
Saturday's comments were in a similar vein. In a wide-ranging interview with the conservative radio host Walter Kurtz, Mr. Trump was asked about the Breaking2 race, which was trending on Twitter. Trump responded:
"I— You know, Walter, I will say this. And believe me when I say it. If Andrew Jackson had been—and Andrew Jackson, by the way, amazing man, just a terrific man, terrific leader, loved his country just so much—he owned slaves, yes, but so did lots of other—I mean, if Jackson had been around today, okay? On that marathon race? If President Andrew Jackson had been around today, Walter, I will tell you with absolute certainty. He would have broken two hours. Would have broken them. Believe me. There is no question. And we will— This man, this amazing man, had such a big heart. Everyone is always coming up to me, saying, 'Oh, Mr. Trump, Jackson had a big heart, very decisive, strong man— and you, you are the same kind of president and that is why I voted for you' and why, by the way, we won by a historically huge margin, and I mean huge, but the fake news won't say so, kills 'em to say that. But believe me. Marathons? Yes. He absolutely would have broken two hours. Now you ask, 'Oh, Mr. Trump, what about you? You're in such terrific health, the fittest president in history, you should do that,' to which I say, you know, maybe 10 years ago... But we'll see. We'll see. Big things coming, Walter. Watch for a very big, beautiful announcement. Very soon."
Asked whether Jackson was even a runner, Trump replied, "Many people have told me he was. They say that. I just know what people tell me. He— it, I mean, he certainly looks like a runner. Amazingly athletic man. Tremendous head of hair."
Vice President Mike Pence did not return repeated calls for comment.