Even with President Trump‘s history of saying odd things, people were scratching their heads after his July 4 Salute to America speech, where he said that the U.S. military took over “the airports” during the Revolutionary War — a war that took place over a century before man invented the first airplane.
“Our Army manned the [unintelligible], it rammed the ramparts, it took over airports, it did everything it had to do and at Ft. McHenry under the rocket’s red glare had nothing but victory,” Trump said this Thursday. “When dawn came, the star-spangled banner waved defiant.”
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Trump offered an explanation for the flub, saying that a malfunctioning teleprompter was the culprit.
“We had a lot of rain,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House. “I stood in the rain. The teleprompter went out. The teleprompter kept going out and then at the end it just went out. It went kaput.”
“Actually right in the middle of that sentence it went out,” he added. “And that’s not a good feeling.”
“When you’re standing in front of millions and millions of people on television and — I don’t know what the final count was, but that went all the way back to the Washington Monument,” he continued. “And I guess the rain knocked out the teleprompter.”
Trump went on to point out that he “knew the speech very well.”
“So I was able to do it without a teleprompter,” he said. “So the teleprompter did go out. And it was actually hard to look at anyway because there was rain all over it.”
As The Washington Post’s Phillip Bump points out, the “airports” comment wasn’t the only ahistorical thing Trump said in his speech.
Instead of saying that the Continental Congress named George Washington commander in chief, which it did, Trump said for some reason that they named it after him, which they didn’t. He said that the winter of Valley Forge, not at Valley Forge, was difficult. Trump claimed that British Gen. Charles Cornwallis of Yorktown had victory snatched away from him instead of saying that Cornwallis lost at Yorktown. He said that the army manned . . . something, instead of presumably saying that American forces manned the ramparts at Fort McHenry. The fort’s ramparts are part of the national anthem, which Trump then alluded to twice more.
Interestingly, Trump has a history of disparaging people who use teleprompters, namely former President Barack Obama.
“If you’re running for president, you should not be allowed to use a teleprompter,” Trump said back in 2015. “You shouldn’t be allowed because you don’t know what you’re gonna get … you don’t want a scripted president.”
Teleprompters no doubt have their drawbacks, but if their presence causes one to insert modern day technology into 18th century historical events, the problem likely isn’t the teleprompter.
Featured image via Twitter